BRIDGEPORT—St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound Marathon will be celebrating 32 years on Saturday, August 3, 2019, as approximately 100 swimmers, accompanied by a fleet of 65 escort boats and 20 law enforcement boats, will swim across Long Island Sound to raise money and support for the thousands of people who are battling cancer and their families.
As the swimmers make their way across the Sound, supporters are invited from 2–6 pm to cheer them on as they make their final approach to Captain’s Cove Seaport in Bridgeport, CT. The dockside celebration is free and open to the public. The maritime amusement center will be alive with music, entertainment, vendor booths, and the boardwalk shops and restaurant will be open, too. Children of all ages can partake in face painting and balloon art.
Swimmers come from towns across Connecticut, our surrounding states, and as far away as Texas, Tennessee and Florida. The fastest swimmers are expected to start crossing the finish line at approximately 2:30 pm, depending on the weather. Things will really heat up after 4 pm when the bulk of the swimmers will finish.
St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound Marathon is recognized as one of America’s Top Open Water Swims. Swimmers from all over the world have participated in the annual Marathon. At 15.5 miles, the SWIM is one of the longest challenges on the World Open Water Swim Association (WOWSA) Top 100 list. The Marathon, which begins at West Beach in Port Jefferson, NY, and culminates at Captain’s Cove, includes solo swimmers, two-person relays, and 4-6 member relay teams. Universities and corporations also form relay teams.
This year, Sacred Heart University(SHU) student Victoria Catizone and her team, “SHU Swim,” will participate in their first SWIM marathon on Saturday. The teammates are all rising seniors at Sacred Heart University and members of its Division I swim team, so they are no strangers to competition. “We come from Long Island and Massachusetts, and go to school in Connecticut,” says Catizone. “So, not only is this marathon a fitting location for us, we are excited to be swimming for such a great cause.”
The SWIM Marathon is more than just an exciting open-water sporting event. Individual swimmers and relay teams raise a specified minimum amount of money in order to participate. Swimmers raise money through pledges from friends, families, and businesses to help provide cancer patients and their families with financial support and care for needs that health insurance does not cover. Boat captains donate their time and fuel for the day to escort swimmers or serve as perimeter boats. All net proceeds are used to help individuals and families who are battling the multi-faceted challenges of cancer.
Catizone, 21, who will be swimming in memory of her grandparents and in honor of a close friend, has witnessed the challenges of cancer firsthand. “I’ve seen the stress that cancer can place on an individual and their family,” she explained. “This event is a great way to show support for cancer patients and survivors, as well as their loved ones.”
Ann Gorton agrees. As captain of the “ED (Emergency Department) Code Blue Fish” team from St. Vincent’s Medical Center made up of a physician’s assistant, two nurses and three ER technicians, they have all witnessed the devastating effects of cancer. “We are medical professionals…we are not swimmers,” explains Gorton, who will be swimming in her eighth marathon. “But, we swim to support the cause. Our patients and our community are very important to us and we want to show them how much we care about them as individuals. We are here to support them for more than just their medical needs.”
The ED Code Blue Fish raised more than $6500 with their annual Basket Raffle at the Medical Center, and have surpassed their fundraising goal of $7500. In honor of our first responders and military, the team will wear suits designed with the American Flag. “We always swim in honor of our patients and our family and friends that are fighting cancer,” said Gorton. “However, this year we have decided to also swim in honor of our first responders and military who continue to protect and care for others, even while they are personally battling cancer.”
The SWIM Marathon presents a unique opportunity for swimmers to challenge their own stamina and achieve new goals. Like the SHU Swim team and the ED Code Blue Fish, many swimmers and boaters choose to participate because cancer has affected their lives, or their family and friends in some way, and they want to help others with the struggles cancer brings.
St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound provides cancer education, screening, and prevention programs at low- or no-cost for the uninsured and underinsured. In addition, the SWIM helps individual cancer patients on a case-by-case basis with specific needs, such as the funding of wigs and prostheses, payment of utilities or rent, medication assistance, free transportation to treatments and appointments, day-care scholarships, support groups and more. For more information on the SWIM, visit www.SwimAcrosstheSound.org.
About St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound
St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound is a charitable not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization run by the St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation of Bridgeport, CT. Since 1987, the SWIM has had a unique niche helping individuals and families struggling through the difficult changes that cancer brings with it. The SWIM serves approximately 30,000 people annually by providing 44 programs, including cancer education, screening, prevention and support programs at low- or no-cost for the uninsured and underinsured. In addition, the SWIM helps individual cancer patients on a case-by-case basis with specific financial assistance, funding of wigs and prostheses, medication assistance, free transportation to treatments and appointments, day-care scholarships, support groups and more. For more information, contact the St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation at 203.576.5451 or visit www.SwimAcrossTheSound.org.