The 23rd Annual Swim for Life and Paddle Flotilla
By Laura Shabott
September 13th, 2010
The Provincetown 23rd Annual Swim for Life is a phenomenal event. With blustery winds and a mostly clear sky, hundreds of people witnessed a fundraiser that comes from the heart.
With a record number of 405 participants aged 8 to 86 years of age, sponsor Boatslip Resort had a packed deck with prayer flags blowing in the wind to remember the event’s true essence: to swim for the life of those we love. An extraordinarily organized event, community members, volunteers and family members crowded the deck while drummers played in the sand against a quickly rising tide.
Cheerleaders yelled and chanted as the swimmers immersed themselves in the water from Long Point to cross over one mile to the cheering crowds at the Boatslip.
Eric, the first swimmer to arrive on shore got a rousing cheer of applause. This same energy of welcome kept up until that last swimmer made it to shore. Zoe Lewis crooned the audience while generous donors, like Farland’s Jim Farley, also swimming in his fifteenth year, fed the hungry people with a sumptuous Mermaid Brunch.
Everyone got in safe and the resplendent Jay Chritchley started the awards ceremony with Town Manager Sharon Lynn and Chair of the Provincetown Board of Selectman Michele Couture naming the top donors of the event. Local Swim for Life icon Shawn McNulty brought in $14,443.00 with flotilla kayaker and daughter Nicole. Joseph Dieffenbacher came in second with $4,220.00. One of the top donators was Arthur Richter, 71, and his grandson Max, 13 who swam together for the first time generating over $4,000.00. What a jubilant team! The generosity and largesse of the swimmers was overwhelming.
Swimmers said that the water was choppy, with a group of jellyfish also joining them on their way across the harbor.
Geoff Heuchling, of Washington DC, swam at 50 years old for the first time in open water, raising $785.00 for this event. A master pool swimmer for 42 years, he kept looking for the line in the bottom. Our very own actor Timothy Babcock completed his first Swim for Life. He said that as he swam through the choppy water, the crowds kept getting further away! Tim swam in memory of Billy Esposito, who died in World Trade Center Tower Number One, a poignant message of the anniversary of 9/11.
A fundraiser through the Provincetown Community Compact, the Swim for Life is awe inspiring. My deepest admiration goes to Jay Critchley for manifesting this testament of Provincetown’s love for its own and the thousands of people nationwide that support us.
Artistic bon vivant Laura Shabott loves to write about Provincetown. A graduate of the SMFA, Boston, she is passionate about writing, acting and painting.