19th Annual Potomac Swim Set for Saturday Morning - Southern Maryland Headline News

19th Annual Potomac Swim Set for Saturday Morning

Entrants will swim 7.5 miles from Virginia to Point Lookout Across Potomac River

CALIFORNIA, Md. (June 3, 2011) — Environmental groups are set to gather at Point Lookout State Park Saturday morning to cheer on the people 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, now in its 19th year, is growing in popularity as a distance swim event.

The 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 environmental groups. Last year, swimmers collected pledges of more than $12,000 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).

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.

Forty-five swimmers have registered and will be traveling from Maryland, Virginia, D.C., Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and as far away as Ohio, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Connecticut.  Registration to new swimmers is now closed.

The swim event originated 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 one of the swimmers.

To learn more about the event, visit http://www.potomacriverswim.com.

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