PORTLAND -- This weekend, about 75 swimmers will hit the Willamette River for the Portland Bridge Swim, in which participants swim nearly 11 miles under as many Portland bridges.

Swimmers start their journey just south of the Sellwood Bridge and swim with the current to Cathedral Park, just past the St. John s Bridge.

Participants will get a chance to swim under all 11 Portland bridges that cross the Willamette River.

I just thought it would be kind of a fun experience to swim under all of the bridges, said Marisa Frieder, who created the event.

The race is in its third year and continues to grow.

According to Frieder, more people feel comfortable getting in the water this year than in past years.

We've invested a great deal of money into improving the water quality and all of the measurements say that it's safe for swimming, said Frieder.

Still, it s hard for a lot of people to get over the Willamette s less-than-stellar reputation over the years.

There seems to be lots of concern that I will come out with 7 eyeballs or that I won't come out at all, said Erin Scott.

Scott, a 32-year old mother of three, will be competing in the Bridge Swim. Everyone looks at me and says, Erin, you're crazy.

But Scott doesn t seem to mind. She s been training for more than 6 months and feels great being in the Willamette River. Scott says it s cosmic, and she gets to see things most Portlanders will never see.

Under the Hawthorne Bridge, there s just this pretty grid pattern of these little diamonds and triangles, she said.

When I complete this swim, I would probably get the Hawthorne tattooed on me, Scott laughed and added it would be very Portland of her to do that.

If you want to know where you can cheer on the swimmers, visit

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