23rd Annual St. Vincent's SWIM Across the Sound Marathon
Overview / General Information

Saturday, August 7, 2010
Captain's Cove Seaport, Bridgeport, CT
Spectators Can Catch the Action from 2:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m

Swimmers, boat captains and spectators, help turn the tide against cancer on Saturday, August 7, 2010 at the 23rd Annual St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound Marathon, one of the nation's largest open-water swimming events. More than 280 swimmers protected by a fleet of 110 boats will launch from Danford’s Marina in Port Jefferson, NY starting at 8:30 a.m. The swimmers will take off from Old Field Beach and make the 25 kilometer (15.5 mile) journey across the Long Island Sound to Captain’s Cove Seaport in the historic Black Rock section of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

This year’s swim field is composed of 10 solo swimmers, 45 team relays of four to six swimmers and two two-person relays. Five of the 45 team relays are entering in the Marathon’s new University Challenge category. The new category will drum up some friendly competition between college students and alumni.

The SWIM Marathon started in 1987 and raised $5,000 that first year for the cancer charity. Since then the Marathon has grown into a year-long series of events, which has raised millions, $2.65 million in 2009 alone.

Sponsored by St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation, the SWIM raises funds to provide financial support and care for the needs that health insurance companies do not cover. The SWIM provides cancer screenings at low- or no-cost to the uninsured and underinsured and helps cancer patients and their families through free support groups, wigs, prostheses, and financial assistance with medications, transportation, daycare, utilities, mortgages and more.

Each team relay is required to raise a minimum of $7,500, two-person relays are required to raise a minimum of $3,500 and solo swimmers a minimum of $1,500.

For the Public
Don't miss the unique event that started it all! Members of the public are welcome to come down to Captain’s Cove Seaport, located at One Bostwick Avenue in the historic Black Rock section of Bridgeport, enjoy the festivities and cheer the swimmers on as they cross the finish line. The maritime amusement center will be alive all afternoon and evening with music, entertainment, vendor booths, and the boardwalk shops and restaurant will be open, too.

Take the kids to the GE Children's Tent, and for a $5 donation per child, they can partake in face painting, a drumming circle, Discovery Museum activities, arts & crafts, delight in music and their choice of ice cream and toppings and have their photograph taken and framed.

The fastest swimmers will start to hit the docks around 2:30 pm, depending on the weather, but things will really heat up around 4:00 pm. Be sure to stick around to congratulate the swimmers during the awards ceremony, which will take place at approximately 7:00 pm, after all the swimmers have finished.

Boat Captains
Approximately 100 boats – all manned by volunteers – will take part in the SWIM Marathon. About 75 of them will serve as escort boats, the rest as guide and medic boats. Escort boats will be paired with a team, two-person relay or a solo swimmer and will be responsible for their safety as well as the safety of the crew on board, which includes an EMT. Guide boats will maintain the perimeter of the race course and act as a protective shield around the swimmers. It takes great boating skill to allow one swimmer to jump into the water and/or pick up another climbing back on board. Individual swimmers on relay teams tend to do 20 to 30 minute runs, while solo swimmers will be in the water for the entire distance.

Boat Captain and SWIM Committee member William Szturma of Stratford has participated for four years. "The SWIM is a wonderful tribute to the energy and strength of the human spirit. To be able to swim over 15 miles is an incredible achievement, and I am in awe of these swimmers. All those who participate - boat captain's, crew and swimmers - do so to help in the fight against cancer and this event inspires a camaraderie that is very special,” Szturma said.

SWIM Marathon Director
Westport resident Elizabeth Anne Fry, the volunteer SWIM Marathon director, is a renowned open-water swimmer. She is one of only 20 swimmers in the world to have earned the elite Triple Crown title. To earn the Triple Crown, the swimmer must successfully swim the English Chanel (21 miles), the Catalina Island Channel (21 miles) and circumnavigate Manhattan Island (28.5 miles). Fry has made three successful solo crossings of the English Channel in total and last September, she became the first woman to circumnavigate Manhattan Island against the current and beat the last record by more than six hours.

A strategy consultant for mergers and acquisitions, Fry feels a lot of passion about supporting the SWIM Across the Sound. Cancer touched her when her mother passed away from the disease more than a decade ago. Fry volunteers throughout the year for other swimming events, keeping informed of competitive and motivational strategies and talking with swimmers about what will keep them coming back year after year. “This is the first year we’re offering the University Challenge category. We had a lot of interest in the category, and it should add another level of competition to the event,” Fry said. “Cancer is so prevalent, and I want to help in any way I can. This is an inspiring event, and the swimmers work so hard fundraising for the SWIM.”

For more information about the St. Vincent’s SWIM Marathon, please call St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation at (203) 576-5451 or E-mail events@swimacrossthesound.org. For media inquiries, please contact Kristin Jones at (203) 576-6431.