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SWIMMER Editorials

The Generosity of Swimmers (March-April 2018)

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by , February 28th, 2018 at 01:09 PM (1364 Views)
It’s well established that many open water swims start with a group of swim friends on a shoreline gazing dreamily into the distance until someone says, “I wonder if we could swim from here to ...”

Charity swims seem to evolve when a swimmer or group of swim friends who have encountered hardship— often the hardship of a loved one, but sometimes a stranger—is standing around saying, “We should do something!” And of course, a swim event is hatched.

In a world where the GoFundMe movement has gotten out of hand (no, I won’t fund your European vacation, trip to Burning Man, or wedding), there are scores of creative examples of the generous spirit of our tribe. Swimmers don’t really need an excuse to swim, but they’re happy to connect their favorite recreational activity with a passion for people and planet.

At usms.org and in the mainstream media, you can read about swimmers who swim across lakes for wetlands preservation, down rivers for water quality, or in the ocean for sea turtles. This is by no means limited to open water swims—there’s a plethora of pool examples: fundraisers for equipment or repairs, holiday swims with an admission price of canned food for the local food bank, or fundraisers for a teammate who’s fallen on hard times.

In the profile feature of this year’s open water issue, Elaine K. Howley writes about Kitty Tetreault, a swimmer and race director who’s dedicated years to helping Swim Across America in its fight against cancer and was diagnosed with cancer herself (page 16). She received treatment at a research center that’s been the beneficiary of her efforts.

The generosity of swimmers isn’t just financial. Managing editor Daniel Paulling writes about three different USMS clubs that have made significant impacts in their communities with adult learn-to-swim programs, funded by grants from the USMS Swimming Saves Lives Foundation. Coaches, instructors, and swimmers in these programs have received more than they’ve given of their time and talent.

Pastor Rob Bruendl rallied his entire flock after one of his parishioners drowned during a church outing. He became an adult learn-to-swim instructor, and now he’s making sure everyone in his church knows how to swim (page 46). And ALTS instructors with both the Bozeman (Mont.) Masters Swim Club and the Queer Utah Aquatic Club have discovered club growth and personal growth in helping adults learn to swim (page 36).

These and other stories remind me that I’m fortunate to be swimming shoulder to shoulder with thousands of USMS members across the country who give their time, money, and passion to causes that make a difference in the lives of others.

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