After the coronavirus pandemic necessitated changes last year, swimmers will once again make waves for a cause in the Lynbrook Village Pool on July 30 as Swim Across America comes to the village.
After switching to a virtual model for what would have been its 11th year in 2020, the pool will once again be packed with people swimming laps, all of them doing so to raise money for cancer research as part of the annual event. It is part of the larger Swim Across America organization, which hosts hundreds of swims throughout the year across the country.
Lynbrook's SSA Coordinator Emily Bergin said she was excited to return to an in-person format.
"It's truly a rewarding experience for everyone who takes part and we see the same people come back each year," she said. "It will be very exciting to see everyone once more and have that sense of normalcy again."
Participants are asked to raise money beforehand, with a recommended $100 minimum, and there are prizes awarded to top fundraisers who reach certain thresholds. Last year, amid the pandemic, the organization hosted the SAA Personal Challenge, in which participants could create any challenge on the SAA website and pledge to complete it by October while garnering donations from sponsors.
At press time, Jason Diaz, 13, a Lynbrook resident and rising eighth-grader at Howard T. Herber Middle School in Malverne, was among the top two fundraisers with $965 raised. He has participated in several previous events and said it felt “fantastic” to help people who are ailing.
“I wanted to participate in Swim Across America again because I like to help raise money to fight cancer,” he explained. “It’s important for me to fundraise because there are many people out there who are sick and are fighting cancer and I want to do my part.”
To raise money, Diaz asked his friends and family members to donate by sending them links to his fundraising page, and by making videos at the Lynbrook pool for his mother, Nikki Diaz, to post on social media. He said he loves to swim and that he looks forward to the event each year. Though the outing was altered in 2020, he and his friends still went to the Village Pool to complete their laps for the cause.
Diaz said his goal was to swim 1 mile at the event, which is equivalent to about 64 laps, and that he planned to have several of his friends from the village swim team join him. He added that he planned to swim freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and some butterfly at the event, and he will also perform the National Anthem before it begins.
Nikki Diaz said she was proud of her son’s efforts for the cause.
“Every summer he looks forward to this event and he really enjoys raising money to help find a cure for cancer,” she said. “It is so great to see him set a goal and then reach it. He loves swimming, he loves helping people, and he loves being a part of this community. I also love how Swim Across America is teaching Jason how to help people and be a part of something good.”
The swimmers will comprise people of all different ages, ranging from young children to adults, who will have plenty of support from onlookers at the event.
The Lynbrook Pool swim is set for July 30 from 7 to 9 p.m. It is a part of the Nassau/ Suffolk Chapter of Swim Across America. Since its inception in 2001, the Nassau/ Suffolk Chapter of Swim Across America has raised more than $10,000,000 for cancer research, prevention and treatment. To learn more, donate or register, visit swimacrossamerica.org.