PROVIDENCE, RI – Registration for the 40th Annual Save The Bay Swim officially opens today, Monday, February 29, although swimmers were able to reserve their spot two days earlier by registering for The Splash, a charity challenge obstacle course and cold-water plunge held on February 27 at Easton’s Beach in Newport.
Five hundred swimmers between the ages of 15 and 80+ from all over the country are expected to register for the iconic 1.7-nautical-mile journey from Naval Station Newport on Coaster’s Harbor Island across open water to Jamestown’s Potter Cove. Typically, registration for The Swim, which will be held on Saturday, August 13, fills within the first few weeks of opening, as swimmers from all over the country reserve their spot for the much-anticipated event.
Onne van der Wal, of Jamestown, says his entire summer photography and camping schedule is “ruled by the day we swim across the Bay. It’s the most important date on my summer calendar. The water is crystal clear, warm, and who wouldn’t want to swim across the Bay under the bridge just after sunrise with hundreds of like-minded creatures? It’s the best,” he said.
As one of the most storied open-water swims in the United States, the Save The Bay Swim celebrates tremendous progress in cleaning up Narragansett Bay since its first official Swim in 1977 and the organization’s founding in 1970. In the early years of the Swim, swimmers often emerged from the water with oil and tar balls on their skin and swimsuits. Last year, swimmers reported seeing schools of menhaden swimming beneath them.
“I love the Ocean State and all the water that surrounds it. I do the Swim firstly to raise money to help preserve the Bay,” said Rebecca Doran, of Lincoln, who is proud to be celebrating her 10th Save The Bay Swim this year.
Wakefield resident David Stephenson, who is doing his sixth Swim this year, said his motivation is twofold. “I swim because the Bay is important to Rhode Island, and restoring the health of this little part of the ocean sets a good example for the world. And I swim because I like to know I can still do it at the age of 74,” he said.
With a fundraising goal of $350,000, The Swim is Save The Bay’s largest annual fundraiser, providing critical support toward the organization’s mission to protect and improve Narragansett Bay and its watershed. It is generously sponosored by many local businesses and thousands of individuals sponsoring swimmers. Proceeds from The Swim support Save The Bay’s education, restoration and advocacy programs.
For more information about the Swim, visit www.savebay.org/theswim, or follow the Swim on Twitter: @SaveTheBaySwim or join our Swim Facebook group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1378937632427530/.
About Save The Bay: Founded in 1970, Save The Bay works to protect and improve Narragansett Bay and its watershed through advocacy, education, and restoration efforts. It envisions a fully swimmable, fishable, healthy Narragansett Bay, accessible to everyone and globally recognized as an environmental treasure.