July 03, 2013

Swim Across America Saturday

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Summer has begun, which means that the East Hampton Ocean Rescue volunteers will be very busy protecting swimmers and helping Long Islanders in more ways than one. This summer the Ocean Rescue team will be coordinating three Open Water Swims to benefit multiple organizations.

The "Red Devil" Swim on August 18, will benefit the Ocean Rescue Team, the Montauk Ocean Challenge on July 27 is to benefit the Montauk Playhouse, and the first swim of the summer, the Swim Across America swim on Saturday, will benefit Fighting Chance, the East End's free cancer counseling and resource center.

Swim Across America is a national organization that has worked to raise funds for cancer research by organizing swimming-related events throughout the country for the past 26 years. The organization first started as a single event in Nantucket Massachusetts, and now includes 15 Open Water swims and many pool swims across the country as well.

Over the course of these years Swim Across America has raised over $40 million towards cancer research and cancer organizations, and is working to raise more. "We have already made a palpable impact," said Fighting Chance Founder and Chairman Duncan Darrow, "but there is so much more we can do."

Darrow first introduced the Swim Across America organization to East Hampton's Ocean Rescue four years ago, and the organizations have been working together to create this event ever since. Jim Arnold of Ocean Rescue and the community's Open Water Swim Committee has been in charge of putting the swim together, with the help of SAA's Nassau/Suffolk committee Chairman Gerry Oakes. As a sponsor, Ocean Rescue is in charge of setting up the course for the swim, making sure swimmers are able to swim safely, and helping to generate more swimmers and donations.

Because of East Hampton Ocean Rescue's efforts the Hamptons Swim for Swim Across America has been very successful. Last year the swimmers and volunteers raised over $200,000 in the fight against cancer.

This has been very encouraging for the Swim Across America organization because they are able to help Fighting Chance and other cancer resource and research organizations.

Cancer affects thousands of Long Islanders every year, and Fighting Chance is able to support their patients, and help save lives, due to the help of donors like Swim Across America. Darrow explained his gratitude to Ocean Rescue and Swim Across America saying, "The counseling sessions [Fighting Chance provides] help patients move from an initial sense of despair and disorientation to a sense of hope and empowerment . . . So we continue to expand, thanks in a large part to the generosity of donors like SAA."

The Hamptons swim will take place from 6 to 11 AM, on Saturday at Fresh Pond Beach in Amagansett, with a ceremony afterwards. The swims include a 5k, a one-mile, and a half-mile swim.

For registration and more information visit www.swimacrossamerica.org/hamptons.

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