At the break of dawn on September 10, 45 swimmers from across the Tri-State area boarded a bus at Sleepy Hollow’s Kingsland Point Park. After a few unexpected detours, they arrived at the Nyack Marina with a mission: to swim across the Hudson River.
Long before any of this was possible, the Lighthouse Swim was founded as a non-profit by swim-enthusiasts Terry McGlynn, Sue Klein, and Marty McGinnity. McGlynn and Klein had participated in a similar charity event known as the Hudson River Swim for Life, raising money for a variety of charities including the Multiple Sclerosis and Leukemia & Lymphoma Societies, for 20 consecutive years prior to the disassembly of the old Tappan Zee Bridge. As the new bridge came into view, the Hudson River Swim faded away until the Lighthouse Swim came into the picture last year when the trio ran a trial swim of one and a half miles, raising $3500 for Feeding Westchester in the process.
“Our goals are to help people achieve their goals of going across the Hudson and to raise the money needed so desperately for Feeding Westchester,” said co-founder Sue Klein, who volunteers for the organization. She added, “Feeding Westchester is not only feeding the homeless but also senior citizens on fixed incomes and single parents.”
For swimmers like Bill Dwyer and Pocantico resident Tyler Alexander, the swim is about not only giving back to the community but also fun and camaraderie. Surprisingly, as co-founder Terry McGlynn commented, “There are very few people who’ve done it before, so it gives us a lot of room to grow.”
All told, the organization raised over $25,000 for Feeding Westchester this year through sponsors like Danone and donations from swimmers and their individual supporters.
Back at the Nyack Marina, the swimmers, lit by a gorgeous sunrise, warmed-up for their three-mile swim. Among words of encouragement from McGlynn was the second annual game of “Simon Sez” led by announcer Steve Max.
Soon enough once the go-ahead was given, they were swimming into the sunrise. But they weren’t alone, joining the swimmers were 25 boats, jet skis, and kayaks staffed by over 50 volunteers and marine units from Rockland and Westchester counties.
According to co-founder Marty McGinnity, the organization received a tremendous amount of community support, a statement that’s apparent when considering the crowd of spectators and first responders awaiting the swimmers in Sleepy Hollow. As each swimmer rose from the water, they were given a medal and greeted by a wave of applause and congratulations before making their way to a well-deserved breakfast.