The popular Beaufort River Swim returns on May 19, offering swimmers and triathletes of all levels a chance to sharpen and flex their open water swimming skills. The annual event is hosted by Beaufort-Jasper YMCA of the Lowcountry.
Now in its 12th year, the Beaufort River Swim is the only open water swim held in Beaufort County, and features both a timed competitive 3.2-mile open water race starting at Port Royal Landing Marina and a 1-mile Fun Swim that starts at the Beaufort Memorial Hospital dock.
For those thinking of participating in their first 3.2-mile race, the YMCA recommends swimmers be capable of swimming a mile non-stop, which is the equivalent of 66 laps in a swimming pool.
The shorter fun swim is an option for those with less stamina, the YMCA says.
With this being an open water swim, expect wildlife encounters -- usually with fish or the occasional jellyfish. Contestants will swim with the flow of the tide. The water temperature should be invigoratingly cool.
“The Beaufort River Swim is a fun and competitive way to test out your open water swim skills and gain experience and strength in open water swimming," said Denice Fanning, 2018 event director and YMCA wellness director, in a media release.
The ultimate purpose of the event is to be a fundraiser for the YMCA Learn To Swim program. Over the past decade, the race has raised over $50,000 to provide swim lessons to local children and adults for free or at reduced cost.
"Here in the Lowcountry we are quite literally surrounded by water so it is quite obvious that learning how to swim well is a necessity for our kids.” Fanning said.
New this year, the owners of the Prince of Tides excursion boat will be selling seats on their vessel for spectators to ride along and watch the race from the water. Proceeds will go to the YMCA. Twenty-four seats are available, said YMCA marketing and development director Betsy Hinderliter. The cost is $30.
Parking is available for participants and spectators at no charge from 7 a.m. until noon in the downtown waterfront lot.
Registration and event details can be found at beaufortiverswim.com.
Jay Karr: 843-706-8150