Swim Across America raises over $27,700 to support Cancer Research
Monday, July 23, 2012
by Madison Yates
For 11-year-old Ellis Ritchie, participating in the inaugural Swim Across America (SAA) event held on Sunday, July 15, at Chappaqua Swim & Tennis (CST) showed him a different side of the sport he loves.
“Swimming together for a common purpose, instead of always racing and being competitive is really fun,” said Ritchie. That common purpose – Swim Across America—brought together 62 swimmers of all ages from many local clubs, who raised more than $27,700 for the non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention, research and treatment of cancer.
The CST event is part of Swim Across America Long Island Sound (SAALIS), a Westchester-based non-profit that enters its 20th season with nine outstanding swim events. Over the past 19 years, these Pool and Sound swims have raised over $12 million in the fight against cancer and have supported the Cancer Support Team serving Westchester County, the Tommy Palazzo Fellowship at Columbia University, the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian Medical Center, the DeMatteo Research and Swim Across America Laboratories at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
“We first got involved in Swim Across America by forming ‘Team Karen and David,’ honoring the memory of loved ones our community lost to cancer; last year alone, we raised more than $10,000 by swimming in an event held at the Orienta Beach Club Pool in Mamaroneck,” said Dan Levy, coach of CST’s champion swim team. “This year we hosted our own event to encourage more local swimmers to participate by swimming either a half mile or a mile.”
Former CST President Judy Simon was thrilled with the huge turnout of swimmers and donations towards Team Karen and David. David Simon was Judy’s husband, and the team honors his memory along with Dan Levy’s late sister Karen. “The swimming community was a support for us in so many ways after our loss,” she commented. “The reason why our family participates in this event is because we all hope to help people dealing with cancer and their families, since we know first hand how hard it is to go through.”
Bobby Hackett, the 1976 Montreal Olympics silver medalist in the 1,500 meters, also participated in the event. Hackett has been participating in Swim Across America events for the last five years. He is a co-coach of the Marlins Swim Team of Mount Kisco. Since many different swimmers from all different summer swim teams came together and swam for a common goal, Hackett was happy but unsurprised that these competitive swimmers could get their heads out of the game for three hours to work together. “The participation is great. It’s so fun to see many different teams work together as one because they are united to support a common cause.”
Hackett led a freestyle clinic after the event that was attended by more than 30 swimmers. He graciously signed caps and t-shirts and gave out Olympic pins to all the participants. “It was really cool to hear about his experience swimming in the Olympics, said 9-year old CST swimmer Wyatt Yates. “He taught us how important it is to remember to streamline with our arms when we do our flip turns. He said we can get a lot faster in races if we just remember to do that.”
With all the hungry swimmers and volunteers participating in the event, Chappaqua Swim & Tennis was in need of a little help to supply enough food for everyone. More than ten local merchants contributed breakfast treats. They included The Bagel Emporium, Dunkin’ Donuts, Gail Patrick’s Café, Lange’s Little Store, The Village Market, Le Jardin Du Roi, Pizza Station, Mario’s Pizza, Susan Lawrence, and Starbucks. Starbucks also had many samples of their new Refreshers drinks, which was quickly consumed by sleepy parents in need of a caffeine boost. Carrie Dillon, a 3-year participant of Swim Across America events, said of the new Refreshers: “I loved the lime flavored drink, it really hit the spot.”
According to Liz Fuerstman, CST President, the SAA committee reported that the CST swim was one of the most successful inaugural events, with over 60 swimmers participating and $27,700 raised to-date. Donations can still be made at:
Madison Yates has been an active member on the Chappaqua Swim Team for six years and the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester Marlins Swim Team for 4 years. She is going to be a sophomore this fall at Horace Greeley High School.