The families that swim together, Save The Bay together
by Katy Dorchies Nutini, director of communications and marketing
Every year, the Save The Bay Swim gives all of us the opportunity to appreciate both the benefits of a healthy, clean Narragansett Bay and the effort that has gone into cleaning up this beautiful resource. The event also affords us the chance to stand in awe of those bold swimmers who take on the open water to support Save The Bay’s mission. This year, Save The Bay staff were especially impressed by the number of families—including members of the next generation of swimmers—who tackled the 2-mile challenge together.
In the days leading up to the 2022 Swim, we asked two of them—the Van Nostrand/Davis-Van Nostrand family and the Koplovsky family—about the intergenerational Swim experience. And, as it turns out, joining the Swim is no accident for either family, as the sport already plays a significant role in the lives of both.
“My wife and my two teenage children are avid swimmers,” explained Michael Koplovsky (57), who took on his first-ever Swim this year, accompanied by his 16-year-old daughter, Alexandra. “My wife competed as a teenager, and I have been swimming almost all my life, starting as a young child.”
“Judianne and I swim open water together,” notes Bill Van Nostrand (64), who tackled his third Swim this year, alongside his wife, Judianne (60), and daughter, Waela, both of whom were first-time participants. “Waela joins us when she can, between her club swimming, high school swimming, and lifeguarding job. We have such a great time swimming together as a family. It is a unique bond to share.”
But swimming isn’t the only shared activity these families enjoy—in fact, both families seem to share quite a few interests and activities, both on and off the Bay.
“We also swim and paddleboard at Mackerel Cove and Ft. Wetherill in Jamestown,” noted Michael. “We love the rocks at Beavertail and the coves at Ft. Wetherill. We are all sailors, and all four members of my family are PADI-certified scuba divers. The family also downhill skis together, although my wife and I now find it hard to keep up with the kids.”
“We enjoy riding our bikes, hanging out on the beach, or surfing,” said Judianne Davis-Van Nostrand, as Bill added: “We have also all participated in triathlons and runs together, and we all enjoy SUP, riding our Vespa scooters around Narragansett, our four border collies, and we also raise bees.”
And the idea to add the Save The Bay Swim to the list of family activities? For both families, the decision was a long time coming.
“Last year Bill wanted us all to do the Save The Bay swim, but our schedules could not make it happen. This year he told us early in the summer to set aside the day on our calendars,” explained Judianne. “The prep for the Swim is often discussed during dinnertime. We are all looking forward to it.”
“We have a bit of family rivalry going on, too,” added Bill with a smile.
“Both Alexandra and I had discussed doing the Swim in years past, but I guess we just decided this was the year to “take the plunge,” said Michael.
Of course, at the end of the day, it’s all for a good cause:
“I think that it is awesome to have such an event that is healthy for the mind, the body and the Bay,” said Bill. “One part of a healthy lifestyle is having a healthy environment to live and exercise in, so helping to protect Narragansett Bay is important.”
“I enjoy doing the various swim events, however knowing that we are contributing the swim funds to something that affects the quality of our lives makes a big difference,” added Judianne. “I feel more connected to the cause.”
Both family groups completed this year’s Swim on August 6. To learn more about the Swim, contribute to the fundraising effort, or sign up for the 2022 Save The Bay Open, visit savebay.org/swim.