Dartmouth swimmers help raise over $145k on Buzzards Bay

Jun 22, 2019

Seventeen Dartmouth residents were among 278 swimmers from all over the US who plunged in to the annual Buzzards Bay Swim on June 22, making it 1.2 miles across the bay from outer New Bedford Harbor to Fort Phoenix in Fairhaven.

Each year the swim — now in its 26th year — raises funds and awareness to help the Buzzards Bay Coalition keep South Coast waterways clean.

According to the Coalition, swimmers came from 16 different states and ranged in age from 12 to 79.

The day dawned clear and bright as the first wave of swimmers started at 7:15 a.m. from the beach next to the former Davy’s Locker restaurant.

Only two hours later, the final swimmers had arrived at the finish line at Fort Phoenix Beach State Reservation in Fairhaven.

“It went well,” said Tracy Pennoyer of Mishaum Point in Dartmouth. “It was definitely a little bit colder, definitely a little bit choppier than it has been. But I made it.”

The 65-year-old raised $1,690 for Buzzards Bay Coalition on the day — and along with other Dartmouth residents Kait Carvalho and Thomas Southworth, won the “Six-Mile Award” for participating five times in the swim.  

“It’s always a wonderful event,” she said. “It’s a pleasure to do.”

First-timer Alberto Dias agreed. “It was fantastic,” he said. “The weather couldn’t have been better.”

He added wryly, “The water temperature was fine.” Dias had previously noted that training in cold water was not his favorite part of the experience.

At one point, halfway through the swim, the Dartmouth resident experienced a moment of realization.

“I had to take a minute and think about [what I was doing],” he said. “I was in the middle of the channel. It was a great feeling.”

At the finish line, swimmers were greeted with a beach party that included a hot pancake breakfast, complimentary massages, Buzzards Bay Brewing beer, and live steel drum music as well as an awards ceremony for top finishers as well as top fundraisers.

Dartmouth resident Nancy Smith was in the top three individual fundraisers with a contribution of $3,325.

The Buzzards Bay Swim has raised over $145,000 — and it’s still counting. Donations are welcome until July 31, and will go to support the Coalition’s clean water, conservation and education programs.

Dias managed to raise $1,625 for the Coalition, and he said that he’s made a lot of new friends.

“They gave great tips, they were very encouraging,” he said of the other swimmers on the day. “They were a great inspiration. Without them I couldn’t have done it.”

As for next year, Dias said, he’d like to try to do the swim again. “We’ll see.”

Donations can be made at www.savebuzzardsbay.org/swim.