When swimmers head to the water this Saturday for Save the Bay's annual "Swim" the course will be much different than it has been the last thirty-six years. Because of federal budget cuts, the swim can no longer set off from the Newport Naval Base.
The event brings more than 1,000 people to Newport every year. It's the biggest fundraiser for Save the Bay according to executive director, Jonathan Stone. For over three decades the course has been the same, swim from Newport to Jamestown.
One of the biggest draws of the swim was allowing swimmers to swim directly across Narragansett Bay, something many swimmers don't get the chance to do regularly. Many disappointed, the race will now have to be re-worked. Stone says, "We respect the pressure the Navy is under to do what they have to do to meet the requirements of the sequester, but at the same time we really miss the Navy base as a host."
Save the Bay refused to cancel the swim, but now the two mile swim will start in Jamestown and end in Jamestown, a triangular course. It's certainly better than nothing and Daniel Force who is retired from the Navy and has taken part in the swim 13 times, has a good spin on it. "If you do the swim year after year after year, this is just adding to the memory of your collection of the swim and you'll be able to say that you are participating in the 'sequester swim'."
The Save the Bay Swim will take place this Saturday, July 20th from Potter's Cove in Jamestown.