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save the bay swimmers start

For: Immediate Release
Date: May 9, 2013

Save The Bay Announces Alternate Route for Annual Swim in July

PROVIDENCE - After a 37-year tradition was nearly derailed by federal “sequestration,” Save The Bay has finalized its plans for this year’s annual Swim, one of the longest running and most beautiful open water charitable swims in the country. Save The Bay appreciates the support and understanding of its swimmers and volunteers as it considered alternatives.

For decades, The Swim began at Naval Station Newport, where 500 swimmers and 250 kayakers plunged and paddled westward across the East Passage of Narragansett Bay to Jamestown. Rather than starting the 1.7 mile swim at the island home of the Naval War College and ending at Potter Cove in Jamestown, the route for this year will both begin and end at Potter Cove (see map at bottom of release). The event, scheduled for Saturday, July 20, celebrates decades of achievement in cleaning up the Bay. Proceeds from The Swim provide critical financial support for Save The Bay’s environmental advocacy, restoration, and marine science education programs. 

“I had promised that The Swim would go on, and I’m happy to tell you that we have finalized our plans,” said Jonathan Stone, executive director of Save The Bay. “After researching and visiting many potential sites around the Bay, we reviewed each site’s challenges and advantages including parking, safety, shoreline conditions, open space and so on.”

The route for this year’s “Sequester Swim,” as many Save The Bay staff have dubbed it, has approval from the U.S. Coast Guard. Save The Bay will continue working with the Coast Guard to ensure the safety and security of all swimmers, kayakers, safety squad, supporters, and spectators.

“During an exhaustive review of about a dozen possible sites, we feel strongly that a triangular course starting and ending at Potter Cove meets the criteria for safety, distance, and logistics,” said Eric Pfirrmann, Save The Bay’s Lead Captain. “Considering how much support we have enjoyed from both the Rhode Island Turnpike & Bridge Authority and the Town of Jamestown, this year’s course just makes sense.”

Swimmers and kayakers will enter the water on the northern section of the beach at Potter Cove, which is located just north of the Pell (Newport) Bridge. Swimmers and kayakers will travel roughly one half nautical mile northeast to a marker buoy, make a 90 degree turn to the right and travel another one half mile to a second marker buoy, and then make a hard right turn and travel the final three quarters of a mile to Potter Cove. The traditional “after party” will be held on the lawn adjacent to the Rhode Island Turnpike & Bridge Authority’s building.

“We are disappointed that the sequester has forced Naval Station Newport to cancel the start of The Swim this year,” said Stone. “This decision came despite strong support from leadership at the Naval Station and regular participation in The Swim by many active and retired Navy personnel. We would like to thank the City of Newport and Naval Station Newport for their long-standing support of The Swim and look forward to bringing the start back to Newport next year if allowed.”

About Save The Bay

Founded in 1970, Save The Bay ( is a nonprofit member organization working to protect, restore and explore Narragansett Bay and its watershed. Save The Bay believes the Bay’s future depends on tomorrow’s leaders understanding how important the Bay is to our economy, environment and quality of life. The organization offers education programs to schools, community groups and the general public; protects Narragansett Bay by advocating for Bay-friendly legislation, reviewing permits and raising public awareness; and restores the Bay to full health through its extensive habitat restoration program.