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Monday, August 13, 2018

Why Swim? Helping Others Drives Swim Across America

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Megan Melgaard is currently serving as the Director of Events for Swim Across America (SAA), but she has been a world-class competitive swimmer and taught swimming from A-list actors to disabled individuals.

Her focus now is to create safe, innovative charity swims across the country that enable Swim Across America to achieve its mission that is dedicated to raising money and awareness for cancer research, prevention and treatment.

We caught up with her as she criss-crosses America setting up and helping manage the dozens of open water charity events organized by Swim Across America.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Why is open water fun?

Megan Melgaard: Open water is fun because every swim yields a new adventure. Each experience is exhilarating in it's own way. I also love sharing a unique camaraderie and bond with folks in the open water community around the globe.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Where have you been doing open water events?

Megan Melgaard: I have swum from Alcatraz and in Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Croatia, Hawaii, Poland and Southern California and many Swim Across America events in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston Harbor, Dallas, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale, Nantucket, New York, Richmond, San Francisco, Seattle, South Carolina, Southern California and Tampa.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What are some great places and events that you have done?

Megan Melgaard: I love heading to the British Virgin Islands for swimming adventures in a setting reminiscent of Treasure Island. One of my favorite memories was swimming in crystal clear water to a deserted island and through underwater tunnels. In addition, swimming in charity events, such as Swim Across America open water swims, provides the opportunity to support cancer research. Water becomes our medium in which to help give others hope.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What was your first exposure to open water swimming?

Megan Melgaard: My first exposure to open water swimming was in college at the University of Florida. Our coach scheduled weekly swims in the Ichetucknee River. I was terrified that I would see an alligator, so I swam as fast as I could every time!

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How is the pressure different swimming in an open water event and racing in the pool?

Megan Melgaard: I feel less pressure in an open water event vs racing in a pool, largely because there are so many factors that are out of your control in open water racing. You have to be flexible and adaptive to the environment, in comparison to the ideal conditions one expects in pool racing. Over the years, I've learned to let the pressure and stress flow over like the current.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What is your dream open water swim - something that you would like to do in the future?

Megan Melgaard: Ahh, there are so many places in this world where I would love to swim! My top dream swim would be through the Maldives, from island to island. In addition, I would like to swim Lake Titicaca, which is on the border of Peru and Bolivia. It is the highest navigable lake in the world and will necessitate quite an adventure just to get there!

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