For 35 years swimmers likes Brendan McEntee, Rachel Balaban and Jana Hesser, have made the 1.7-mile aquatic journey from Newport to Jamestown in the Save The Bay Swim for Narraganset Bay on Saturday morning.
The non-competitive swim is Save The Bay’s largest fundraising effort. The swimmers represent thousands of people who make cash pledges that directly fund Save The Bay's mission to pass state and federal legislation protecting the bay and its surrounding waters.
“I believe Save the Bay is a premier environmental organization whose efforts over the years has cleaned up and revived the bay both for marine life and for recreation. It’s easy to ask people to sponsor me because I believe in Save the Bay’s mission and enjoy talking to donors about their accomplishments and work,“ Hesser said
A year ago, McEntee was hit by a car while biking, and learned to swim to maintain mental and physical resistance against his injuries.
“Preparing for the swim has been a challenge, and I would not have made it this far without all the love and support of friends and family,” McEntee said. “I was not too concerned about swimming 1.7 miles until yesterday, when I popped in the ocean for the first time to test out the waters. It is going to be a challenge, and I am grateful to have my family swimming and kayaking along side me and watching from both sides. I am going to need every ounce of strength in my body, and every thought of support I’ve received in this journey to make it across the bay.”
McEntee said his father will also swim, guided by his cousin in a kayak.
Save the Bay said the swimmers range in age from teenagers to veterans in their 80s. They come from around the region, and many swimmers travel cross-country each summer to renew their old connections.
“Over the years, I've developed a passion for this swim, not only because of the environmental impact its had on our surrounding waters but also because of the community of friends I've developed and the deep love for open water swimming I've nurtured,” said Balaban.
The swim will start at 8 a.m.i at the Newport Naval Base and end at Potter Cove in Jamestown.
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