Swim Across America returns to Mercer Island on Sept. 8

The start of the 2011 Swim Across America Seattle Open Water Swim features hundreds of swimmers sporting pink caps. This year
The start of the 2011 Swim Across America Seattle Open Water Swim features hundreds of swimmers sporting pink caps. This year's even will take place on Sept. 8.
— image credit: Dean Forbes/Contributed photo

This summer millions of people watched the summer Olympics in London, many rooting for swimmers who brought home some impressive medals and records.

Now Mercer Island residents have the chance to visit with some former Olympians and raise money for Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Swim Across America, a nonprofit which raises money for cancer research, hosts the annual Seattle Open Water Swim on Saturday, Sept. 8.

The event, which begins at Mercerwood Shore Club and ends at Luther Burbank Park, features a 2-mile or half mile swim for adults and a 50-meter open water Kids Splash.

This year, like in years past, swimmers will be able to meet former members of the U.S. Olympic Swim Team including: Mary Wayte Bradburn, Rick Colella, Emily Silver, Janel Jorgenson McArdle, Dana Kirk, Margaret Hoelzer and Canadian Olympic swimmer Chris Chalmers.

The event begins at the Shore Club with an 8 a.m. start, followed by the start for the half-mile swim at 8:30 a.m. at Luther Burbank. This year the event also includes the 50-meter Kids Splash for kids 11 and under. The race will go from the swim beach at Luther Burbank, around an inflatable palm tree island and back to shore. The Kids Splash will begin at 9:45 a.m. after the half mile swim is finished and before the 2-mile swim is over.

After the swims all participants and family members are invited to join the post-swim celebration and award ceremony at the Luther Burbank Park swim beach, which includes a pancake breakfast around 10 a.m.

Swimmers are responsible for a registration fee of $50, with a total fundraising goal of $300. Swimmers can also form teams in honor of someone who has battled cancer. The 2011 event had 257 swimmers, and 160 volunteers who helped raise over $260,000.

"In just its first three years, Swim Across America - Seattle has raised more than $500,000 for much needed cancer research and treatment," said Janel Jorgensen McArdle, a 1988 Olympic silver medalist and President of Swim Across America. "Our goal this year is to generate more than $300,000 for the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, a very worthy organization that shares our commitment to the fight against cancer."

SCCA brings together cancer-care services from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine and Seattle Children's. Contributions from this year's event will support research and treatment for pancreas cancer patients, as well as research in the Cellular Therapy Lab, which helps SCCA treat blood cancers.

Paul Von Destinon, the general manager of the Shore Club, said the club is thrilled to once again host the event.

"It's special to us that we can be involved," he said. "From a selfish standpoint it gets the club's name out there, but its hard not to be involved in something like this. We're very happy to be apart of it."

This year, Von Destinon said they even have a team, six members strong, helping to raise funds.

To learn more about the event, and Swim Across America, visit their website


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