Dartmouth swimmers to take on the Buzzards Bay Swim

Jun 19, 2019

On June 22, hundreds of swimmers will take on the annual Buzzards Bay Swim, a 1.2-mile trek across the bay from outer New Bedford Harbor to Fort Phoenix State Reservation in Fairhaven.

The annual event, hosted by the Buzzards Bay Coalition, will help the Coalition raise money and awareness to keep the waterways of the South Coast clean.

It is a mission many of the swimmers — including the 17 Dartmouth residents who will be participating — hold close to their hearts.

Tracy Pennoyer, who lives in Connecticut and summers on Mishaum Point in Dartmouth, has been swimming in the waters of Buzzards Bay for her entire life.

She has participated in five Buzzards Bay Swims so far, including one which was canceled at the last minute due to severe thunderstorms. She got into swimming for exercise about ten years ago. Now 65, she is not afraid to admit she isn’t a star athlete, but loves the experience.

“It’s really the only athletic thing I do,” Pennoyer said. “It’s a great fundraiser, and it keeps me swimming all year so I can be in shape for it.”

Participants raise money for the coalition leading up to the event. Pennoyer is a top fundraiser, raising more than $1,500 to benefit the Coalition. She is also involved in the William C. Bullitt Foundation, which has donated to the Coalition.

“It’s a summer community of relatives and long time friends, and they’re pretty big supporters,” Pennoyer said. “People on Mishaum Point are very much aware about the water quality in Buzzards Bay.”

With the event only a few days away, Pennoyer is feeling a bit anxious about the weather, but is excised to see everyone come out and take on the challenge.

“I am always very impressed by the people who make it to the other side before I’ve even started,” Pennoyer said.

Others are just starting out for the first time, like Alberto Dias. He was introduced to the swim by the pool at the YMCA, where he started swimming to stay in shape recently.

“[Nancy Smith] recruited me and told me about the swim,” Dias said. “She asked if I would like to participate this year, and I had grown up right up the street from where they take off from. I’ve always wanted to do it.”

He noted the swim is a safe event, with safety boats and volunteers trained to keep an eye on participants throughout the event. Although he heard of the Coalition, he did not know much about them until he started reading up in preparation for the event.

Since signing up, he has committed to a 40-minute swim four or five days a week. With colder temperatures lately, he hopes the water will be a bit warmer.

“I’m looking forward to completing the swim, and maybe some warm weather,” Dias said. “It’s been in the low 50s every morning, and I don’t like trying to get into the cold water.”

Like Smith, Dias is also a top fundraiser, owing to his generous co-workers at St. Luke's Hospital. He has raised more than $1,500 as well.

For more information about the swim, and to donate, visit savebuzzardsbay.org/swim.