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Chicago River Swim

Sunday, September 22, 2024

Organizing Team


The Chicago River Swim is the signature event of A Long Swim, a 501(c)3 charitable organization raising funds for ALS collaborative research. The organization was co-founded by Doug McConnell and his sister, Ellen, whom, along with their father, has since been lost to ALS. 

The Chicago River Swim is supported by a consortium of renowned public service, event production and media experts who share the passion to build Chicago’s next stand-out event, including:

Doug McConnell, CEO
The Chicago River Swim is the dream of Doug McConnell, co-founder of A Long Swim and competitive swimmer for more than 50 years. Doug is a world-class open-water swimmer who has swum some of the most challenging waters in the world including the English Channel, Catalina Channel, Manhattan Island, and the Molokai Channel. In 2011, Doug co-founded A Long Swim with his sister, Ellen, who, along with their father Dr. David McConnell, DMV, has since been lost to ALS.

Clif Wilson, COO
Clif has had a career of experience in media sales and crafting sponsorship partnerships. Clif is able to capitalize on very deep relationships with people who are corporate decision-makers and philanthropists. 

Kate Himes, CMO
Kate is a creative marketer, communicator, and event planner, specializing in the non-profit sector. As the Director of Marketing for A Long Swim for over five years, she has had a major role in boosting fundraising efforts dedicated to collaborative ALS research.

Scott “Hootie” Hutmacher, Event Director

Hootie brings 20 years of experience in mass participation events, with an emphasis on high-end production, brand marketing, and media relations. He has produced hundreds of sporting events across the nation, including the Chicago and New York City Triathlons, the Chicago and Miami Marathons, and SailGP.

Hootie also operates Open Water Swim Chicago, one of the nation’s largest swim programs developing 17,000 new swimmers since 2012, and consults in the active lifestyle sector, designing compelling production and communications strategies.

Colin Wood, Athlete Services Coordinator
Colin is a recent graduate of Michigan State University, with a strong background in business development and client services. Colin is well-versed in special events and fundraising, having generated thousands of dollars for ALS as an officer in his fraternity.

Tim Brazel, Advisor

Tim is a Chicago native, avid runner and fitness enthusiast. He brings more than a dozen years of experience in sponsorships and media partnerships in the endurance industry. Tim’s professional forte is finding creative, impactful (and often non-traditional) means to connect brands with their target consumers.


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