While most of us were still asleep on Saturday, Aug. 16, a steady stream of cars made their way down Landing Road at 4:45 a.m., heading to the Glen Cove Yacht Club dock. In the cars were 14 swimmers, support persons and 14 kayakers. They were the vanguard group headed to meet the transportation boats which would ferry them across Long Island Sound to Larchmont for the beginning of Swim Across America's (SAA) second Annual "Sound to the Cove - Swim to Fight Cancer." At 6:30 a.m. the group left the beach to begin the 10K (6.2 mile) swim back to Morgan Park. By 9:30 a.m., all 14 swimmers had arrived at the beach, welcomed by a crowd of more than 400 people.
As the 10K swimmers were leaving Larchmont, a group of 5K swimmers, 12 in all, and 80 one-mile swimmers were arriving at Morgan Park to register and get a healthy snack before their swims. After receiving instructions from Swim Director Matt Vossler, co-founder of SAA, the 5K and 1-mile swimmers headed to the GCYC dock to board their transportation boats, while the theme from Rocky played.
Swimmers ranged in age from 11 to 75 years young, from Aqua Fit Masters swimmer Hedy Esposito of Levittown to 11-year-old Brian Oakes of Garden City, who swam the final two miles of the 10K event next to his dad, Gerry Oakes, chairman of Swim Across America, Nassau / Suffolk Committee. And just for something completely different, 20-year-old Patrick Dunn, a swimmer for Columbia University, swam the entire 10K backstroke!
While the day was focused around the swimmers, the reason for the swim was to raise money to fight cancer. And they succeeded very well at that goal. Mr. Oakes announced that the passionate and generous efforts of the swimmers and their sponsors had raised $220,000 for SAA's beneficiaries, the Sloan-Kettering Miracle Building, currently under construction on the campus of the Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre and the Swim Across America Lab at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan.
There was a post-swim brunch in Morgan Park for all, courtesy of Swim Across America, followed by an award ceremony. Recognizing the generosity of the City of Glen Cove in hosting the swim, Mr. Oakes presented a plaque from SAA to Mayor Mary Ann Holzkamp. Glen Cove's Director of Parks and Recreation Darcy Belyea, and Captain Mike Salantino of the GC Harbor Patrol were also acknowledged.
"The success of Swim Across America is evidenced by the community effort that creates the opportunity. That community includes the swimmers, their generous sponsors, all the volunteers, corporate sponsors, and most importantly the generosity of the City of Glen Cove in hosting the swim and providing for the safety of all the swimmers," said Oakes in presenting the plaque and thanking Mayor Holzkamp.