The biggest fundraiser for Save the Bay is coming up this weekend, the 38th annual cross-bay swim.
500 hundred swimmers will be taking to the water this coming Saturday to raise money for the organization. They are hoping to raise $350,000.
Jonathan Stone, Executive Director of Save the Bay explains, "this is by far our most important fundraiser and one of the things important for people to know is that every dollar raised and donated for swimmers goes to the programs of Save the Bay."
The 1.7 mile swim starts at the Naval Base in Newport and actually crosses the bay to end at Potter's Cove in Jamestown, an amazing feat for any swimmer. Elizabeth Minifie will be swimming her 25th time this weekend, she explains, "it's just awesome, I always stop and look. I just am so amazed that I'm down in the water and that bridge is towering way over me!" Edgar Mercado adds, "to look up at that majestic view, it's definitely worth it, it's easier to pay the toll, but it's definitely worth it!"
This is the 38th annual swim and Edgar Mercado will be swimming his 36th swim, that's right, he's only missed two swims over the decades. He even swam in the original swim, explaining, "I was at the first one, actually I was the very first person to sign up for the first swim."
On the opposite end of things, Brigid Kennedy is a competitive swimmer who just turned 15, the minimum age required to take part in the Save the Bay Swim. She says, "I've been waiting to do it since I started but they have a rule that you have to be 15 in order to swim, which is understandable because it's a long distance, so this year I was finally old enough!"
Last years swim was impacted by the government sequester. Swimmers were not allowed to start at the Naval Base and instead started and ended in Jamestown, following a triangle-shaped course. The number of swimmers declines and fundraising suffered. Jana Hesser will be swimming her 10th swim on Saturday, fundraising is very important to her, she explains, "I appreciate what Save the Bay has done for the bay so the fundraising is really important to me also, I really put some effort into my fundraising."
This year, the swim is back on track with the tradition cross-bay swim and the swim is full with 500 swimmers crossing Saturday morning.