The Maggie Fischer Memorial Great South Bay Cross-Bay Swim is all set for Friday, July 13.
The 5.6 miles open-water race begins each year on Fire Island, near the lighthouse, and ends at Gilbert Park in Brightwaters.
The race began back in 1927, a year after Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim the English channel.
Since then, the race has grown from 10-15 swimmers to now around 120.
In 1999, the cross-bay swim was named after 17-year-old Maggie Fischer, a senior at St. Anthony’s High School who lived in Brightwaters and worked as a lifeguard at Saltaire.
She was training for the swim before dying in a car accident days before the race. Today her parents, Bob and Mary Fischer, run the event.
“It is a world-class event; there aren’t many of this size in the country,” said Bob, “And it happens in our backyard.”
Each year, the race raises money for Hospice Care Network Children’s Bereavement Fund, as well as a $20,000 scholarship in Maggie Fischer’s name.
There is always a wide variety of swimmers who participate each year.
“We’re going to have a 60-year-old woman in the race that has done it before,” said Bob.
Last year, Christopher Arena, an 18-year-old from Amityville, won the race for the second year in a row.
The Fischer family welcomes anyone who wants to come down and see if anyone can top Arena’s time of 2 hours, 1 minute, and 34 seconds.
“If you want to have an uplifting experience come on down,” said Bob.
For more information about the race, click here.
Top: Photo from last year’s race courtesy of Benny Migs Photo.