St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound will be celebrating 30 years on Aug. 5, as approximately 160 swimmers, accompanied by 100 boats, will swim across Long Island Sound to raise money and support for the thousands of people who are battling cancer and their families. As the swimmers make their way across the Sound, hundreds of supporters will gather from 2-6 p.m. to cheer them on as they make their final approach to Captain’s Cove Seaport in Bridgeport. The dockside celebration is free and open to the public.
“The best part about participating in the SWIM is seeing everybody waiting at the dock after those 15.5 miles,” shared Bill Strickland, head coach of the Trumbull Pisces swim team, who is participating in his sixth SWIM. The Pisces have two relay teams this year – Pisces Strong and Pisces Pride — including eight young swimmers ranging in age from 13-15. “Not only are there people who are supporting our teams, but there are families, friends, children, and past and current St. Vincent’s patients who are cheering each team member on and that in itself is all you need.”
The public is invited to come to Captain’s Cove, located at One Bostwick Avenue in the historic Black Rock neighborhood of Bridgeport, to cheer the swimmers on as they finish this unique event. The maritime amusement center will be alive with music, entertainment, vendor booths, and the boardwalk shops and restaurant will be open, too. Children of all ages can partake in face painting and balloon art.
Swimmers come from towns all across Connecticut, and surrounding states, and as far away as Florida, Illinois, and Washington. This year there is an international swimmer from Mexico. The fastest swimmers are expected to start to cross the finish line at about 2:30 p.m., depending on the weather. Things will really heat up after 4 p.m. when the bulk of the swimmers will finish.
St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound Marathon is recognized as one of America’s Top Open Water Swims. Swimmers from all over the world have participated in the annual marathon. At 15.5 miles, the SWIM is one of the longest challenges on the World Open Water Swim Association (WOWSA) Top 100 list. The marathon, which begins at West Beach in Port Jefferson, N.Y., and culminates at Captain’s Cove, includes solo swimmers, two-person relays, and 4-6 member relay teams. Universities and corporations also form relay teams.
Individual swimmers and relay teams raise a specified minimum amount of money in order to participate. Swimmers raise money through pledges from friends, families, and businesses to help provide cancer patients and their families with financial support and care for needs that health insurance does not cover. Boat captains donate their time and fuel for the day to escort swimmers or serve as perimeter boats. All net proceeds are used to help individuals and families who are battling the multi-faceted challenges of cancer.
For more information on the SWIM, visit SwimAcrosstheSound.org.