by Kevin Sherman
Last August five swimmers from the Indianapolis area (Victoria Rian, Jan Johnson, Tina Oaks, Jim Barber and Kevin Sherman) participated in the 22nd annual Swim Across The Sound 25K held in Bridgeport, CT. The annual swim sponsored by St. Vincent’s Foundation rose over $350,000 dollars. Proceeds of the event help the under privileged with the financial burden associated with a cancer diagnosis.
Each of the 5 swimmers from Indy had to raise $1,500 through sponsorships to enter the swim. The St. Vincent’s Foundation of Bridgeport, CT hosts many different galas and events each year. Their annual fundraising goal is over $2.5 million and the swim marathon is St. Vincent’s hallmark event.
On a sunny and calm August morning a total of 160 hardy swimmers were ferried across the Long Island Sound from Bridgeport, CT to Port Jefferson, NY. In Port Jefferson all swimmers and their crew attended a brief pre-swim ceremony and then met up with their designated escort boat and volunteer captain. From there the boat captains, swimmers and crew made their way to the starting area which was a sandy beach point right outside Port Jefferson harbor.
After the start each swimmer’s boat captain and crew guided the swimmers across the sound and assisted them with feedings throughout the day. All boats were equipped with GPS and also a special “athlete tracker” device which enabled family and friends to “watch” their swimmer in real time over the internet as they swam the 15.5 miles to the finish located at Captain Cove’s marina in Bridgeport, CT!
All together there were 15 solo swimmers (all 5 Indiana swimmers swam solo) and 23 relay teams consisting of anywhere from 2 to 5 swimmers each. The armada of close to 80 boats including escort boats, race official boats, police boats, medical personnel boats and media boats kept the swimmers out of harms way and attracted a lot of attention.
Jan Johnson (Indy swimmer and breast cancer survivor) was interviewed after the swim and ended up getting a spot on the ABC evening world news! Swimmers at the finish were greeted by hundreds of cheering spectators and on lookers from the local marina.
The day was capped off with a wonderful post swim party and award ceremony. It was an awesome event and according to the race organizers the swim conditions were the best they’ve seen in over 10 years. For full results and recap of the swim and more information about the St. Vincent’s Foundation please go to: http://www.swimacrossthesound.org/