BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - A group of five Claremont-Mudd-Scripps swimmers, all of whom are Claremont McKenna College students, raised $7,500 for cancer patients and their families at the 26th Annual St. Vincent’s Medical Foundation SWIM Across the Sound Marathon in early August. The CMC team of Jasmine Cooper, Madison Gebhard, Joseph Hinton, Conrad Shabb and Quinn Markwith competed in the University Challenge Division and finished in first place, completing the event in eight hours and 15 minutes.
The SWIM Across the Sound Marathon is one of the nation's largest open-water swimming events. More than 200 swimmers protected by a fleet of 100 boats launched from Danford’s Marina in Port Jefferson, N.Y. starting at 8:30 a.m. to make the 25 kilometer (15.5 mile) journey across the Long Island Sound to Captain’s Cove Seaport in Bridgeport, Conn. In the team’s first SWIM Marathon, they faced clouds, drizzle, wind and choppy water with three to four-foot waves, not to mention the occasional jellyfish. At one point during the event, Hinton was stung by a jellyfish but he managed to continue on.
Roughly 200 swimmers - both solo and members of relay teams - started the event, but not all finished under the tough conditions. Only seven of the 16 solo swimmers completed the swim and only half of the registered relay teams completed the entire course for a posted time. SWIM Marathon director, Liz Fry said after the event that she believed this was the toughest SWIM challenge to date for the swimmers.
Cooper, a Connecticut native and SWIM Marathon veteran, organized the relay team back in March and also spearheaded the team’s fundraising efforts by writing stories about the team’s efforts and sending out emails to obtain pledges for the team. She also organized a summer lake party to raise more pledges for her team with raffle prizes.
St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound’s mission is to:
- Break down barriers to access for cancer screening and prevention programs
- Provide education on minimizing risks for cancer
- Provide assistance to cancer patients with services that traditional health insurance will not cover
- Help individual cancer patients and their families on a case-by-case basis with specific needs, so that patients can concentrate on feeling better and family members can concentrate on caring for their loved ones
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