Swim for Life is a suc­cess

Record Observer - - News - By LEANN SCHENKE lschenke@thekent­coun­tynews. com

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.

PHOTO BY LEANN SCHENKE

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.

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