LARCHMONT, N.Y. Members of Team Sarah stood and applauded as the last swimmer on their team headed for beach at the Larchmont Shore Club where more than 500 swimmers joined a flotilla of volunteers Saturday to help raise funding and awareness in the 19th annual Swim Across America-Long Island Sound event.
This is the third I third time Ive done the swim, said Jim Spellman of Norwalk, Conn. as he greeted his cheering teammates. I didnt set any records but I finished and thats the idea, right? I waited for the six-mile swimmers and then snuck in with them. It was great. Well be back next year.
Chad Glennon, whose mother-in-law Sarah Haller is the namesake of Team Sarah, said the team has grown each year. Ive been here since the event started, manning the boats and helping out, Glennon said. Then my mother-in-law died and we put the team together and I got into the water. It gets better each year.
Kayakers Andrew Herzig and his 11-year-old daughter and crewmate Julia, were among a dozens of kayakers who rowed alongside swimmers to protect and support them across the Sound.
This is our first time, Andrew Herzig said. We had an aunt, uncle and cousin out there in the one-mile swim. We went alongside to make sure they went in the right direction. Young Julia said she loved the role of guardian on the water. It was really a good time, Julia said. I like kayaking and do it in the summer and this was fun to do.
The hundreds of swimmers, members of 54 memorial teams, each honoring a relative, loved one or friend lost to cancer, helped raise a record $1,200,000 surpassing the goal of $1.1 million set by the organization.
Hundreds of other swimmers participated in several 2011 Swim Across America pools swims throughout the Westchester area this summer. SAALIS Executive Director Tony Sibio thanked the large crowd of swimmers, volunteers and supporters gathered at the Larchmont Shore Clubs beachfront and introduced several support groups, doctors and researchers on hand to report on what the funding meant in the fight against cancer.
Ossinings Craig Erigo and Jeff Jakobowski of Larchmont were decked out in resplendent lemon-yellow tee shirts, the uniform of the day for the army of volunteers who helped swimmers out of the water and back to shore safely.
This is our first time out here, Jackubowski said. Im not a swimmer, strictly a beach guy helping out a good cause.
The Long Island Sound Swim started in Larchmont in 1992 at the Larchmont Yacht Club with a four-mile swim. It is dedicated to the memory of Kathy Webers, who along with family and friends courageously battled cancer for over a year. The 1992 Swim included 35 swimmers and raised $15,000.
The 2010 swim included 600 swimmers and raised over $1,027,000. For donations, make checks payable to Swim Across America, PO Box 217, Larchmont, NY 10538.
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