Chris Campoli joins a team to Swim Across the Sound

St. Vincent's Medical Center will once again be hosting its own team at the Swim Across the Sound Marathon on Saturday, July 28.

This year's team, the Bull Sharks, is comprised mostly of security personnel from the medical center. These are the same men and women who keep the employees, patients and visitors safe and sound each day.

For the second year, they are going one step further by raising money to support St. Vincent's Swim Across the Sound, which provides cancer education, screening and prevention programs for the community.

These athletes join a field of approximately 200 swimmers for a 15.5 mile journey across the Long Island Sound from Port Jefferson, N.Y., to Captain's Cove Seaport.

Team Captain Bruce Collins of Trumbull said the team was formed to "have fun and raise some money for a good cause." Collins is joined by his daughter, Jennifer Collins, 20, also of Trumbull and a student at Simmons College, along with fellow SVMC security officers Monica Okarmus, 26, of Norwalk; Brian Huribal, 22, of Stratford; Chris Campoli, 25, of Shelton; and Chris Sanchez, 22, of Bridgeport.

The Bull Sharks are swimming this year in memory of Phyllis Ennis and Ilona Starr, and in dedication to J. Conrad Collins, all friends and family of the St. Vincent's security team who have battled cancer.

Last year, the security team was the first St. Vincent's-based team to swim in the marathon. This year, they inspired some competition from the Emergency Department. Though each relay team must raise $7,500, the Bull Sharks set their goal at $12,000 and raised their money in creative ways, including a car wash, raffle and karaoke competition.

"Everyone in the security department did their part helping us fund-raise," Collins said. "And we are especially grateful to our benefactors, TPC Associates for their generous donation."

The Bull Sharks will have another karaoke fund-raiser on Saturday, Aug. 11. Donations are appreciated by the team and can be made on the St. Vincent's Swim Across the Sound website.

The public is welcome to join the festivities at Captain's Cove on Saturday, July 28. Swimmers are expected to cross the finish line beginning at approximately 2:30 p.m., depending on the weather. The majority of the field will jockey for the finish line at about 4:30, with an awards ceremony to follow at Captain's Cove Seaport at 7.