Swim Across America Open Water Swim Draws Hundreds to Long Island Sound

Hundreds of swimmers dove in on Saturday, June 29, to make waves to fight cancer at the 18th annual Swim Across America – Fairfield County open water swim.

Swimmers swam 1/2-mile, 1.5-miles or 3-miles in Long Island Sound off the shore of Stamford.

New this year was the “Queen Willa” Kids’ Splash for children under 11 who came out to support five year-old Willa Kosh, daughter of Tina Carpenteri who co-owns Garden Catering. Willa is battling pediatric leukemia.

Queen Willa Kids Splash. Photo: Jeni Howard

Olympic swimmer Donna de Varona was also honored at the event for being the swim’s “Olympic WaveMaker.”

Donna de Varona and her husband John Pinto have been the swim’s honorary co-chairs for all 18 years! Swim Across America – Fairfield County raised an incredible $475,000 for its local beneficiary Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT), which is based in Stamford and whose headquarters are at the site of the swim. In the past 18 years, Swim Across America has raised more than $5.7 million for cancer research for ACGT.

Swim Across America was founded in 1987 by Darien resident Matt Vossler and held its first open water event in Long Island Sound. Since that time, the nonprofit organization has raised more than $100 million to fight cancer. In its 37 years of “making waves to fight cancer,” more than 100,000 swimmers and 150 Olympians have swum the circumference of the earth three times, uniting a movement to fight cancer that has created a groundswell of support spanning all generations.

Today, more than 24 communities hold open water swims and charity pool swims each year, from Nantucket to under the Golden Gate Bridge, which support innovative cancer research, detection and patient programs.

Swim Across America’s funding of clinical trials for patients helped contribute to four FDA approved life-saving immunotherapy cancer treatments with Yervoy, Opdivo, Tecentriq and Keytruda. More than 60 scientific grants are funded each year and there are now ten dedicated Swim Across America Labs at major institutions.

There is still time to get involved with Swim Across America this summer by donating or participating in a pool swim, with several planned for later this summer at Fairfield County area clubs. To learn more about Swim Across America – Fairfield County visit swimacrossamerica.org/fc.

Photo: Jeni Howard

Photo: Jeni Howard

Photo: Jeni Howard

Photo: Jeni Howard

Dr. Btian Brown and swimmers. Photo: Jeni Howard