USMS Members Ramp Up Summer Charity Swims
by Phillippe Diederich
In Colorado, Thornton Masters has decided to host an annual charity event thanks to the success of their 2009 Booty for Bosoms, a charity swim that raised funds for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, an organization that supports breast cancer research. Over 30 swimmers participated in the event where they earned pledges to swim laps. One swimmer swam an amazing 6000 meters. The Colorado team raised nearly $4,700. “With that kind of money being earned we’ve chosen to make it an annual event, changing the charity each year,” says Stacy Broncucia, one of the team members.
So in August the team will be hosting Booty for Bridges, a swimming event that will support the Marion Downs Hearing Center Foundation. The MDHCF supports the Marion Downs Hearing Center at the University of Colorado Hospital. The center provides research, resources, services and education to people who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families. “We chose the MDHCF because our head coach, Kevin Juliano’s daughter, Capri, was born last year with auditory neuropathy,” Broncucia says. AN is a rare condition that drastically reduces the ability to hear. According to Broncucia, the center has played an instrumental role in aiding the Juliano family over the past year, teaching them how to best support Capri’s special needs.
As the team prepared for the charity event, they discovered that one of their own team members, George Downs, is the son of Marion Downs. The center was named in honor of the legacy of Downs who is a world-renown audiologist. And as it turns out, Marion Downs is also a swimmer. She swam a half-mile in the Danskin Triathlon when she was 89. Broncucia says Downs is planning to attend the charity swim in August. “We’re hoping we can get her to swim a few laps,” she says.
Last years swim included some fun relays. The team passed out prizes and awards to show the swimmers appreciation. “We’re hoping to provide an annual non-competitive event. Our goal is to double our swimmers this year,” Broncucia says.
Anyone interested can learn more at the team’s website: thorntonmasters.org/
For those who can’t make it to Colorado for the Booties for Bridges but would like to get involved in a charity swim, the Swim Challenge, sponsored by Aqua Sphere, a company that manufactures swim gear and accessories, including the popular AlphaFins, is a world wide event that aims to raise funds for cancer research. This fun and easy water fitness event will pit men against women. Swimmers of all abilities can participate by registering and tracking their hours in the water through the event website: swimchallenge.org Swimmers will also be able to compare stats and join teams.
Aqua Sphere will be donating $35,000, to be split between The Prostate Cancer Research Foundation and The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. How the money will be split between prostate and breast cancer research will be determined by the cumulative hours logged in by each gender. Because the event tallies hours in the water and not laps, participants can do their swims in a pool, lake or ocean.
The event’s website, which tracks the time swum has shown a shifting lead between the genders. The women started strong, but the men have rallied back and taken the lead. The website’s “Donation Dashboard,” shows the current breakdown of the donation split according to gender hours swam.
The Swim Challenge began April 1st, 2010 and will run through November 30th. Over 2000 participants from all over the U.S and 49 other countries have signed up, but now Aqua Sphere had pledged another $1000 if 4000 people sign up to take part in the challenge. Swimmers can comment and keep in contact through the event’s Facebook fan page and Twitter account.