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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Back Now And Now At Buzzards Bay Swim

Courtesy of Deborah Hood, Buzzards Bay Swim, New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Gerry Payette was always swimming at local beaches around New Bedford, Massachusetts in his youth. He will receive the Pukwudgie Award* for participating in his 20th Buzzards Bay Swim in his home state.

Buzzards Bay Swim is having its 25th anniversary charity event in the Outer Harbor of New Bedford. Started in 1993, the 1.2-mile charity swim raises funds to support the Buzzards Bay Coalition's work to protect and restore Buzzard's Bay.

Payette talked about his participation. “Although I’m a very slow swimmer, I take great pride in fulfilling the need to participate to help the Coalition continue with the important task to save the Bay. Swimmers are given ample support. Enjoying the Swim — living in the moment — is truly what I believe. And helping out a great cause — it’s a win-win situation.

Payette will be joined by other veterans of the event: Peter Burlinson and Rhea Teves-Cate.

Burlinson first participated in the event 1997 when only 49 swimmers took part. Peter describes the swim "as a fun way to demonstrate and celebrate what has been accomplished in reducing pollution flowing into the Bay. The swim is an event that increases awareness, adds support, and builds sustaining membership so the Coalition’s necessary work will continue.”

Teves-Cate completed her first swim in 1999 at the age of 62. Over the next 10 years, she swam across New Bedford Harbor and was the event's top fundraiser award four years in a row by recruiting donations from more than 100 people. “My original focus was just to be able to swim the 1.2 miles from Davy’s Locker to Fort Phoenix. As I became more knowledgeable about [the Coalition’s] purpose, I became more interested in the reason for the event which is to raise funds to support clean water for swimmers, fishermen, shore wildlife, coastal residents, and boaters.”

Now she is 86 years old and does not swim in the event, but she instead serves as a volunteer at the food tent at the finish, welcoming swimmers to celebrate their accomplishment.

For more information on the June 30th event, visit here.

* In addition to the Pukwudgie Award, the Cuttyhunk Award and the Six Mile Award are given to repeat swimmers.

Gerry Payette is shown in the top photo; Peter Burlinson is shown in the middle photo; Rhea Teves-Cate is shown in the lower photo...back when they first started participating in the Buzzards Bay Swim and their most recent swim.

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