BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Swimmers from as far away as Mexico and Canada plan to be part of a field of 169 who will dive into Long Island Sound Saturday for the annual Swim Across the Sound event.
The swimming marathon raise money to support cancer care at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport.
The 29th annual team and solo swimming event starts at Danford's Marina in Port Jefferson, N.Y. and ends at Captain's Cove Marina in Bridgeport. After a series of preparation events, the race kicks off at around 8:30 a.m. and swimmers are expected to arrive in Bridgeport between 2:30 and 6:30 p.m., officials said, followed by an awards ceremony and party.
The public is invited to cheer swimmers at the finish at Captain's Cove Marina, One Bostwick Ave. There will be a children's tent with activities for kids, such as arts and crafts, face painting and ice cream.
There also will be food vendors and entertainment at Captain's Cove. A $1 donation is requested at the children's tent.
The race itself features seven solo swimmers, three two-person relays and 28 team relays of four to six swimmers. There also will be 90 boats staffed by volunteers accompanying the swimmers plus another 20 law enforcement boats.
One of the largest open-water swimming events in the nation, the race is 15.5 miles. Swimmers raise donations to participate, and the money goes to support about 30,000 people who are battling cancer, officials said.
Started by the St. Vincent's Medical Center Foundation in 1987, the event has raised millions to help support cancer patients by covering things health insurance may not cover, such as wigs, prostheses, support groups and more.
This year's marathon director is Westport's Elizabeth "Liz" Fry, a well-known open-water swimmer who was inducted in 2014 into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. She's one of only 48 swimmers around the world to have earned a Triple Crown title for swimming the English Channel, the Catalina Island Channel and circumnavigating Manhattan Island, officials said.
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