Since its inception in 1987, Swim Across America has raised over $100,000,000 to fund cancer research and patient programs. The group hosts 24 charity swim events across the country that raise money for the cause. On Saturday, Sept. 10, they are hosting an event in Narragansett, RI at Roger Wheeler State Beach. The proceeds of the event will go towards researching gynecological and breast cancer at the Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, with a goal of raising $275,000.
Since this event was established in 2010, they have already raised over $2,000,000 for cancer research at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island. The swim annually attracts over 600 swimmers and volunteers alike who are eager to help a worthy cause. The check-in for the event begins at 8:00 A.M., followed by a ceremony at 9:30 am, and the swimmers take off at 10:15 A.M.. There are three different lengths offered for swimmers, one mile, a half mile, and a quarter mile, allowing athletes of all ages and skills to participate. Participating swimmers are asked to raise at least $250 to participate, but some generous donors give thousands towards the cause.
The event is sponsored by a few of the largest brands in the country including Coca-Cola and Dunkin’. It is also headlined by four Olympic swimmers: Elizabeth Beisel, Allison Schmitt, Alex Meyer, and Clara LaMore Walker. Last year, Beisel, a Rhode Island native, became the first woman to swim from mainland Rhode Island to Block Island. This year, she will return to the event to serve as the emcee.
The Providence College swim team, led by swim coach John O’Neill, is also participating in the event along with several other collegiate swim teams including Bryant University, University of Rhode Island, and Northeastern University. As of Thursday, Sept. 1, Providence College has already raised over $30,000 for the Woman & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island. Coach John O’Neill has played a critical role in the event’s success since joining Swim Across America 12 years ago. O’Neill’s connections to various swim coaches throughout the northeast have helped grow the Rhode Island event’s collegiate participation to over a dozen each year, as it now boasts the most college swim teams out of any swim in the county. This year’s event includes a total of 12 different colleges and universities from all around the northeast. The money raised by the events held by Swim Across America has already been put to good use. Their funding has made contributions to four FDA-approved life-saving immunotherapy treatments: Yervoy, Opdivo, Tecentric, and Keytruda. Additionally, the proceeds have also supported over 60 scientific grants each year. It is easy to see why so many people come from around the state of Rhode Island to enjoy a great event, at a beautiful beach, held by an admirable charity.