20th Annual Potomac Swim Set for June 2, 2012
Join environmental groups at the swim beach at Point Lookout State
Park to cheer in the swimmers who will swim 7.5 miles across the
Potomac River to raise consciousness and money for river restoration
projects. The annual Potomac River Swim for the Environment is growing
in popularity as a distance swim event.
The June 2 event, which takes swimmers from Hull Neck, Virginia,
across the river to Point Lookout State Park in Maryland, provides a
challenging distance swim for the participants while raising
environmental awareness about the river as well as funds for Potomac
Last year, swimmers collected pledges of more than $18,000 to help
Potomac River groups, including the Potomac River Association,
Southern Maryland Sierra Club, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the
Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (with smaller amounts
to the Potomac Conservancy, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, Eastern
Shore Land Conservancy, Ridge Rescue, St. Mary's River Watershed Assoc.
and Friends of the Shenandoah River).
A picnic hosted by the Sierra Club Southern Maryland Group provides an
informal forum for discussing local natural resources issues.
Each swimmer is accompanied on the crossing by a volunteer kayaker
from the Chesapeake Paddlers Association or the Association of North
American Kayakers. Members of the Chesapeake Bay Boston Whalers Club
volunteer their boats and time as lead, escort, and tail boats for the
race, along with public safety vessels and staff provided by the U.S.
Coast Guard, Maryland Natural Resources Police, Ridge Volunteer Fire
Co., and the Ridge Rescue Squad.
The swimmers will leave the Virginia shore, and with favorable
conditions, could begin arriving at the bathing beach at Point Lookout
State Park in about 3 hours or less.
The swim began when distance swimmer Joe Stewart who uses distance
swimming as a way to raise cash and visibility for charitable causes,
embarked on a solo "Swim for the River's Sake," in 1993. The race began
the following year. In 2001, Stewart announced that he was taking a
break from race organizing, and handed the reins over to distance
swimmer, Cheryl Wagner. Stewart will be back as a race volunteer.
The public is invited to attend the event, and help cheer the tired
swimmers to shore.
To learn more about the event, or volunteer to help,
contact swim organizer Cheryl Wagner at (202) 387-2361,
or see our website: http://www.potomacriverswim.com.
As we get close to celebrating the event turning twenty, here's a link
below to some personal words about the event's history from:
Bob, one of the original environmental heroes who keeps coming back
year after year to grill good food to feed everyone coming ashore;
Chris, who helps to coordinate water safety support across miles and
miles of open water, currents, wind and changes in the weather;
and Joe, who swam "for the river's sake" twenty years ago.