Swimming For A Cure
By Jackie Hart
Special to GoHolyCross.com
When beginning a fundraiser, it’s expected to set a goal and hope that you can reach it. Imagine reaching over 300 percent of your goal. That’s exactly what the Holy Cross men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams experienced in the 2016 Swim Across America event, where they raised over of $15,000 for cancer research. In their five years of participating in this event, the Crusaders have raised over $50,000.
On Saturday, Sept. 10, both the men’s and women’s teams, along with alumni, dove into the waves of the Atlantic Ocean at Roger Wheeler Beach in Narragansett, R.I., to complete the one mile swim. For the rookies on the team, this may seem a little daunting at first, but freshman Madeline Fitzgerald says the energy of the team uplifted them all throughout the event. “Everyone was excited and had a positive attitude the whole day. It was definitely exciting once everyone finished their swim and we all got to congratulate each other and talk about our experience. The fact that we were there for a great cause and at the beach on a beautiful day definitely made for a positive atmosphere. I’m already looking forward to next year.”
Swim Across America, which 1984 Holy Cross graduate and former ice hockey player Hugh Curran serves as the chair of the Board of Directors, benefits cancer study through the oncology research and treatment of women at the Women and Infants Hospital. The money raised by the Crusaders, along with other schools and participants, will go towards helping women affected by the terrible forms of cancer. Fitzgerald recognizes that cancer knows no boundaries and affects many people in different ways. “During the opening remarks, the speaker asked anyone who has been impacted by cancer or knows someone who has been impacted by cancer to raise their hand. As far as you could see down the beach, everyone had their hand in the air. Cancer impacts so many lives each and every day, so participating in an event like Swim Across America is a great way to help make a difference.”
For junior Katie Santaniello, who completed her third Swim Across America event, the money raised is a strong example of the togetherness and teamwork that is a part of Holy Cross swimming. “I think $50,000 is certainly something to be proud of. That number to me really exemplifies the love and support that courses through Holy Cross swimming. Each year teammates, family members and alumni all participate in something that is universally meaningful for all of us, and that is really special.”
After one year of experience to reflect on the event, and being a part of the swimming and diving team, sophomore Caroline Body feels this experience helps shape the character of the program led by coach Barry Parenteau. “As a first-year student, I didn't know the team very well when we went to Rhode Island for Swim Across America last fall. After experiencing this day, I felt much more connected with my teammates and coaches. Coach Parenteau has so much excitement and enthusiasm about this event. Our team really feeds on his energy. He has instilled in us that swimming is a sport for life, so having alumni come back and join us for the swim was a really cool experience.”
Helping cancer patients and survivors goes beyond what happens in the hospital research. In this way, sophomore Corey Manley knows that the work his team does is all part of the job of being a Holy Cross student and living the mission. “Swim Across America perfectly exemplifies Holy Cross' Jesuit mission of building men and women for and with others. The money we raise will go a long way, but the support we provide to those battling cancer speaks louder than any monetary donations.” Body agrees with this core Jesuit value-a part of Holy Cross that is very special. “Holy Cross inspires its students to use their talents in ways that can help others, so as a team we were happy that this event gave us the opportunity to do something we love for a good cause!”
With the season looming upon them, the Crusaders know this event is just the beginning of the team unity that will be necessary for their success. Santaniello understands this best. “Swim Across America has evolved into a staple of our program. It's something that brings our team together each year and allows us the chance to reflect on how thankful we are to be surrounded by one another.”
Go here to visit the Holy Cross Swim Across America team page to support the cause.