With a brisk northeast wind and chilly, choppy water, 397 swimmers from Australia to California – supported by 75 kayakers – crossed Provincetown Harbor to the Boatslip beach under sunny skies to raise funds for AIDS, women’s health and the community. An estimated $190,000 was raised in pledges, donations and t-shirt sales. It was the 24th year for this post-Labor Day fundraiser, held on Saturday, September 10, and sponsored by the Provincetown Community Compact (The Compact). The weekend kicked off with the 18th annual Celebration of Life free concert on Friday evening, produced by John Thomas.
Brian Cabral, a Provincetown native who has been on the board of The Compact and volunteered at the event for fifteen years, was honored with the David Asher Volunteer Award. Special recognition was given to swimmers who have swum ten times – entering the Circle of Honor and receiving hand-crafted medallions by Kaolin Davis: Fran Quish, Hartford, CT, Lake Perriguey, Portland, OR, Herve Hamon, Norwalk, CT, Ave Gaffney, North Truro, MA, Jeff Fennelly, NYC, Pat Rooney, Philadelphia, PA, Terry Stangel, Jamaica Plain. MA, Gregg Stallings, Venice, CA, Anne Ford Critchley, Quechee, VT, Martha Hevenor, South Welfleet, MA.
The top fundraiser once again was Provincetown’s Team McNulty -Sean McNulty and Kirby Nichols- raising $18,500, followed closely be Joshua Dieffenbacher from Brooklyn, NY at $17,500. Over thirty swimmers entered the $1,000 Club, receiving prizes from local businesses totaling $10,000, including a week in San Miguel, Mexico, VIP passes to the Provincetown Film Fest, Cape Air tickets and a Locman “Mare” Waterproof Watch. Provincetown Town Manager Sharon Lynn and Board of Selectman Chair Elaine Anderson presented the ribbons and prizes at the awards ceremony, along with Swim organizer Jay Critchley. The event included the Mermaid Brunch, catered by Far Land Provisions, with entertainment by Zoe Lewis.
Fastest swimmers across the 1.4-mile distance were Craig Milan at 30:54 and Gabriella Kovachkora at 32:32. Lee Palmer from Sydney, Australia flew in for the weekend for his second Swim for Life.
The event was assisted by the Provincetown Rescue Squad, Harbormaster, US Coast Guard, Center for Coastal Studies, and the National Seashore, along with Flyer’s Boat Rentals, Cee Jay, Viking Princess, Ptown Trolley and Cape Cab.
The Swim for Life benefits the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod, Helping Our Women, Outer Cape Health Services, Provincetown Rescue Squad, Lower Cape Ambulance, Soup Kitchen in Provincetown, The Compact Fund, Safe Harbor AIDS documentary and the Academy at Provincetown Schools. Business sponsors are: Provincetown Banner, Boatslip Resort, Far Land Provisions, White Porch Inn, Seamen’s Bank, Lobster Pot Restaurant and Fanizzi’s Restaurant. The event is also sponsored in part by the Provincetown Tourism Fund.
The 25th annual Swim for Life & Paddler Flotilla will be held Saturday, September 8, 2012.