Dozens of people gathered at Morgan Memorial Park to participate in the 18th annual “Sound to Cove” Swim Across America event on Aug. 3. The Swim Across America Long Island Sound Chapter, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds for cancer research and prevention programs, hosted the swim.
This year’s swimmers had the option to swim half-a mile, 1 mile, or 5 or 10 kilometers in Long Island Sound. The event is not competitive and swimmers ranged from 8- to 80-years-old. One of the swimmers, Mark Heingartner, a five-year veteran of the event, shared his story online with Swim Across America. Heingartner said two of his friends asked him to sign up for the even under Team Stacey, and he’s love the event ever since.
“It has been and continues to be my honor to swim and raise money for this great organization run by amazing people,” Heingartner wrote. “Through the years my friends and family have been incredibly generous and kind in helping me raise money and make waves for SAA and Team Stacey. I swim for those that bravely fought and those that continue to do so today.”
Former 200-meter butterfly world record-holder Craig Beardsley, a New York Native, participated in the event. Breadlsey once qualified for the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team, which had boycotted the summer games that year as it was held in Moscow during the Cold War.
“Congratulations to everyone who participated in today’s Swim Across America,” Mayor Timothy Tenke told swimmers at the end of the event. “Every 15 minutes, 50 Americans are diagnosed with cancer, but with great organizations like SAA we all can do our part to stand up and fight.”
Childhood friends Jeff Keith, Matt Vossler and Hugh Curran founded Swim Across America in 1987, with its inaugural swim held in Nantucket, MA. The organization has grown to host more than 20 charity swims and has raised nearly $80 million for cancer research. The organization also has annual events in Boston, Denver, Chicago and Huston.
The money raised at the even will support immunotherapy research at the Swim Across America Laboratory at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, lung cancer trials at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, pediatric brain cancer research at the Feinstein Institute of North Shore and pediatric oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital.