Swim for Life is a success
CHESTERTOWN — Locals and visitors to Kent County dove into the Chester River for a good cause on Saturday, July 9. Around 220 swimmers participated in the 25th annual Maryland Swim for Life event at Rolph’s Wharf Marina.
Cloudy skies and humid air served as the backdrop for the event though neither of these factors seemed to deter the participants from enjoying themselves.
Swimmers were divided into six groups based on how far they decided to swim ranging from five miles to one mile. Additionally, some opted to compete in the triathlon portion of the event, with a 2.4-mile swim.
The swimmers set off in waves divided by the miles they chose to swim, starting with the five-milers at a little after 9 a.m. The swim was delayed by a rogue buoy, which floated wild for a bit.
However humid it was, the Chester River proved to be a generous host to the swimmers with 82 degrees water, and high tide at noon. The swimmers were aided by the tide in their swim back to the finish line.
This year’s swim saw the most participants of any year and they came from near and far; the majority of swimmers hailed from Maryland, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, but some came from as far aways as Ohio, New Jersey and even Michigan, said Ross Linderman, head organizer for the event.
Linderman has been organizing Swim for Life for two years. He had previously volunteered for the event and swam in it six times.
Swim for Life donates to three charities, which range from local to Washington D.C. based organizations. This year’s included the Chester River Organization, Heart to Hand and Quality of Life Retreats.
Founded 25 years ago by Joe Steward, who participated this year and commemorated the anniversary by wearing a “Finding Nemo” swim cap, the goal of Swim for Life has always been to raise awareness and money for HIV and AIDS organizations, said Linderman.
Following its creation, the District of Columbia Aquatics Club took over the event 15 years ago and has helped it to raise $300,000 since becoming the host for the organization, said Linderman.
In total, there were 22 kayakers present to follow and support the swimmers in case of emergency. The Kent and Queen Anne’s County Rescue Squad was also present to support the swimmers.
Online pre-registration was encouraged for the swim, but according to Linderman there were about 13 day-of participants.
Linderman said Swim for Life plans to continue hosting the event in the Chester River as it has done for the past few years.
A one-mile swimmer stops to help another out of the water. “Swimming is easy. The hardest part is getting vertical again,” the swimmer said.