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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fundraising On The Backs Of Champions

Courtesy of Frank Fennema Photography, San Francisco Bay, California.

While the eyes of relay and marathon swimmers around the world are tracking the daily progress of the Night Train Swimmers on their 300-mile NT300 relay attempt in San Francisco Bay, at the end of the day, the team of six is raising money to help a young man to walk again after he was brutally gunned down and left for dead.

While the joy of participating in a record-setting relay and the challenge of seeing how far one can physically push oneself is readily acknowledged, it is also something remarkable to see a group of people take significant time out of their busy lives and put everything else aside in order to raise money and awareness for a young man who they never knew before.

A one-day channel crossing is one thing, but an entire week of preparing and swimming on behalf of another is at another level.

We think their efforts are noble based on an unselfish desire to help another person placed in an unfortunate and unexpected circumstance in life.

Mother Nature also seems to be cooperating with the NT300 team. With the water an unexpected 20°C (68°F), the team was been swimming fast despite some turbulence thrown in every now and then.

Even other obstacles have been at a minimum.

"While I was swimming, huge sturgeon jumped in the air five feet behind me, but I didn't see it," said Captain Vito Bialla. "Whales were reported near Oakland, but we did not see them. Another sturgeon hit Grace on the head and knocked her goggles off at night. Another time, a sturgeon hit me in my head and slid down my back. Freighters occasionally come within 200 yards of the team, but we are staying out of the shipping channels."

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the great blog Open Water Swimming.
    Having just stepped off the boat supporting the NT 300 swim in San Francisco, I am filled with admiration and respect for these swimmers and the challenging 6 day swim they have completed.

    This is a noble effort for a noble cause: to help an inspirational young man continue to motivate those who cannot even fathom what gifts we have as open water swimmers. The NT 300 mile relay goal is to inspire other athletes through action, and to support an athlete, who once had all of so much of what we we cherish taken away, yet fights and never gives up, despite the losing the use of his legs. For these swimmers to take on such an extreme challenge is admirable, but to support what we as athletes can inspire, or what this young man can do with his return to mobility to motivate those who cannot use their hands and/or legs is unsurpassed. That is the goal of the NT 300. To swim, to inspire and to give back.
    We are swimming so one young man can stand up not just for himself, but through his example and his organization Life Goes On, to demonstrate to those who are born with less ability, or those who suddenly cannot walk or use their arms again, that the spirit endures.

    The challenges of swimming in the San Francisco Bay are akin to the open ocean with extreme and often unexpected: counter currents, temperature lows and in some cases highs, wildlife including sharks but the most hazardous is shipping and navigation hazards. Swimming in the Bay is no tidal surf, but a challenge of ability and endurance and will.
    Swimming, achieving, winning goals and recognition are beautiful. Personal goals or even unsurpassed achievements are admirable. But they are just that, personal, and often egotistical records that will fade away by someone better or by time.
    Applying time, effort, talent and money to give to others is sublime. Night Train swimmers achieve, often setting unsurpassed challenges, yet they give their talent and heart so others like Arthur can benefit and summit challenges unthinkable to the able bodied.
    Swim hard, live well and leave behind good work. Night Train does this.


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