Bay Swim
Part of the large crowd on hand as they watched nearly 1,000 swimmers arrive at the beach at Hemingway's Restaurant.

STEVENSVILLE A 43-year-old Annapolis man died Sunday afternoon at the Queen Anne's Emergency Center after apparently suffering a heart attack while participating in the Bay Swim.

C. Grahame Rice had completed about three miles of the 4.4-mile course when another swimmer noticed he was having trouble and helped him to a kayaker who was monitoring the race, Buddy Thomas, chief of Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department, said. The kayaker called for help and boats from KIVFD and the Anne Arundel County Fire Department responded.

Rice was taken aboard the Anne Arundel boat, which had a paramedic on board, and Rice was given CPR as the boat brought him into the fuel dock at Hemingway's.

Rice was treated in the ambulance, then taken to the Queen Anne's Emergency Center, where he was later pronounced dead.

Race director Chuck Nabit said this was the second fatality in the swim's 20-year history.

The other occurred years ago just off Sandy Point shortly after the swim started; in that case, it was an older man with a history of heart trouble, Thomas recalled.

According to Rice's obituary, he was an avid weightlifter, swimmer and participated in several spirit triathlons. The married father of two was an accountant for GGP in Columbia and an adjunct professor at Anne Arundel Community College and University of Maryland University College.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10:30 a.m. today, June 17, at St. John Neumann Catholic Church, 620 N. Bestgate Road, Annapolis, with interment to follow in St. Mary's Cemetery. Memorials in honor of C. Grahame Rice may be made to The Erin Rice Education Fund for Robert and Laura (Brookie) Rice at any Bank Annapolis location, or mailed to Bank Annapolis, 1000 Bestgate Road, Suite 100, Annapolis, MD 21401.

Frederick Hviid of Frederick, a former Olympic and national team swimmer for Spain, was the first to cross the finish line Sunday in the 2011 Great Chesapeake Bay Swim. Hviid finished the 4.4-mile course from Sandy Point beach to Kent Island in 1 hour, 32 minutes, 57 seconds. The swim ended early this year when the U.S. Coast Guard decided to halt the race due to the threat of an impending storm.

Of the 620 swimmers who started the race, 542 finished. Sixty-two swimmers were pulled from the Bay due to the impending storm; the other 16, including Rice, were pulled out prior to the race being stopped.

The Coast Guard had been watching the approaching storm on radar and called the race after the Department of Natural Resources reported a lightning strike at Sandy Point Beach, Thomas said.

Craig Dietz, 37, of Harrisburg, Pa., who made headlines for attempting the Bay Swim without arms or legs, was among those pulled from the Bay waters when the Coast Guard ended the swim. Using a special fin attached to his single foot, Dietz propelled himself through the water on his back and was on track to finish within the time allowed when the race was called.

Prior to the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, several hundred swimmers took part in the One-Mile Bay Challenge that began and ended on the beach next to Hemingway's. Among them were Bay City residents Frank Kelley, 46, and his son Andrew, 17.

This year marked the second Bay Challenge for Frank Kelley. He participated for the first time two years ago. He said he likes to keep fit and tries to do "something" every year run a marathon or bike this year he he decided to swim.

Sunday was the first Bay Challenge swim for Andrew, 17, who just graduated from Kent Island High School, where he was on the swim team.

"We like to swim," Frank said. "He just decided to do it with me."

Andrew finished the mile course in 29 minutes, 16 seconds, placing 174 overall and eighth in his age group. Frank's time was 37 minutes, 37 seconds, finishing 315th overall and 23rd in his age group.

Both have aspirations to some day work up to the 4.4-mile Great Chesapeake Bay Swim.

Both the Bay Challenge and the Bay Swim benefit the March of Dimes and other charities. The Bay Swim is held regularly the second Sunday in June.

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