25th Annual SWIM Across the Sound Marathon
Saturday, July 28, 2012                                  Return to Marathon 2012 Main Page



Dear Swimmer:

The 2012 SWIM Across the Sound Marathon began as it has in years past – swimmers, EMTs and SWIM support pre-dawn arrival at Captain’s Cove, bus ride to the Ferry and the excitement of boarding the Port Jefferson ferry to the start.  The cloud cover was thick but based on weather reports we all expected the sun to burn the layer off.

The activities on the ferry - numbering of swimmers, matching of observers and EMTs, distribution of MyAthlete GPS transponders, etc. - went quickly which allowed some swimmers to notice the increasing number of white caps and erratic bouncing of boats on the Sound from the deck of the ferry as we got closer to Long Island.   At  Danford’s, our Safety Officer Joe Savino, the Foundation leadership, the Coast Guard and the SWIM Committee had been monitoring the radar and changing sea conditions for hours.

Upon arrival, the swimmers were held on the ferry while we discussed the conditions.  Sadly, the decision was made to call the SWIM Marathon.  It was a difficult decision to make as everyone involved with the Marathon knows how hard the swimmers have worked.  Their efforts in training, fundraising, travelling and mental preparation are phenomenal.  Their work, coupled with the unwavering commitment and support of the boat captains, has made the SWIM Marathon so successful for all these years.  The safety of the swimmers and everyone else involved is our Number One priority.

The proposed contingency plan was to set courses in Black Rock Harbor. Most swimmers and support crew returned to Captain’s Cove via the ferry.  Those swimmers that rode back to CT with their escort boats quickly understood the roughness of the sea conditions once they emerged from the waters of Port Jeff harbor.

Two courses were set up: a nearly two mile loop for solo swimmers and two person relays, and a one mile loop for team relays. 

  • Of the 16 solo swimmers, 11 swimmers started the solo course at 11:58 am planning to swim five loops.  Feeding stations with crew and EMT support were set up at opposite ends of the loop.
  • Seventeen of the team relays started at 12:17 pm. They swam a ½ mile out to the buoy marker and a ½ mile back to the finishing dock where they touched to transition to the next swimmer on their relay team.

For many of the spectators at Captain’s Cove, this was the first time they had seen participants swimming longer than from the end of the dock to the Finish line.  The swimmers appreciated the opportunity to swim with their team mates and for their fans.   Typical of the SWIM Marathon, team camaraderie was strengthened and friendly but fierce competition among certain teams endured.

The clouds opened up as Greg Sargent led the solo swimmers near the end of his third loop.  Greg was followed by two female swimmers - Marcy MacDonald and Nicole Hirschman.  Jim Bayles and Chris Slawsky were equally paced with Tibor Molnar close behind.  Krystal Daymonde, Ed Daymonde and Bethany Bosch seemed happy swimming together, steady and strong slightly behind.

The leading team relays almost made it through the six transitions; while for many of the teams, the sixth swimmer stayed dry from the Sound but not from the torrential downpours.  Westport Wave and NYAC Red Tide were neck and neck but visibility made it impossible to identify a clear leader.  I guess we will have to wait for the 2013 SWIM Marathon on Saturday, August 3rd.

The SWIM was called at approximately 2:45 pm and the post-SWIM Marathon festivities began in full swing. 

 Marcy MacDonald was presented the “Dream of Life” award in honor of Maura Marden. This award is presented annually to the swimmer or team “who exemplifies the spirit and life principles of Maura F. Marden who is remembered for her commitment and dedication to the SWIM Across the Sound.”   

The 25th annual SWIM awards will be given to the top three swimmers or teams in each category based on fundraising results received by August 17th.  The swimmers have pledged over $450,000 for the cancer prevention, education and support programs sponsored by St. Vincent’s Swim Across the Sound.  Swimmers who have pledges outstanding please continue to fundraise to meet that goal.  We ask you to encourage those who still want to support your effort to mail in or go online to make their donation by August 31st.

Team and candid photos of Marathon Day are available by clicking on this link: http://svswim.shutterfly.com .  Just download whatever picture(s) you choose. More photos are posted on the St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound Facebook page.

We are extremely grateful to the 110 boat captains and their crews who volunteered for the SWIM.   I also would like to thank John Brennan and MyAthlete.com for providing the GPS tracking for the SWIM Marathon.

 I especially would like to recognize our SWIM Safety Officer Joe Savino, Bridgeport Harbormaster Anthony Palumbo, the SWIM Committee members, and all our volunteers, EMTs, lifeguards, kayakers, and the many others who have committed their time to this special event.  Thank you for your hard work and dedication to this event year after year.

On a final note, our heartfelt thanks and best wishes go out to Ron Bianchi, President of the St. Vincent's Medical Center Foundation, retiring after a 37-year career as an executive of the hospital, and 25 years dedicated to the SWIM Across the Sound. 

Best regards,

 Liz Fry