Provincetown Community Compact

Nurturing Community

The 31st Provincetown Swim for Life & Paddler Flotilla

The 31st Provincetown Swim for Life & Paddler Flotilla, sponsored by the Provincetown Community Compact, attracts 392 swimmers; honors Gene Landis for twenty-five swims and lifeguard volunteer Gordon Miller.


Photo: Mike Syers
October 3, 2018

2018 Swim for Life Photo Album

Over four hundred swimmers plunged into the warm but choppy waters of Provincetown Harbor at the 31st Provincetown Swim for Life & Paddler Flotilla on September 8. With 75 kayakers and over 40 safety patrol boats, the 392 swimmers arrived safely to cheering crowds at the Boatslip beach. All were invited to the Mermaid Brunch on the Boatslip deck, catered by Far Land Provisions, with entertainment by Zoe Lewis.

Highlights of the Swim include honoring Gene Landis of Amesbury, Massachusetts with The Compact Long Point Award for swimming twenty-five years, and presenting Cape Cod National Seashore lifeguard, Gordon Miller, with the David Asher Volunteer Award for organizing contingents of Lower Cape lifeguards for the Swim for twenty-six years. The Compact also welcomed leaders of its “Think-ubator” program, including Kristen Becker of Summer of Sass, Harriet Korim of Cape Cool and Stephen Cohen, who is researching the historic Long Point and Helltown communities.

The legendary Celebration of Life Concert, in its 25th year and produced by John Thomas, was held the evening before at the Unitarian Universalist meeting House. A 2018 t-shirt, with a design by artist Ellen LeBow inspired by Ellen’s humanitarian work in Haiti, was given to all swimmers, kayakers and volunteers.

The event raised an estimated $250,000, bringing the total raised since 1988 to over $5.5M to support AIDS, women’s health and the community.

Top fundraisers include:
Jim Youngerman, Lenox, MA at $18,200
Jonathan Scott, Provincetown at $14,601
Mike Dively at $ 9,000, Winter Park, FL (celebrating his 80th birthday)
Barbara Jo Revelle at $ 7,525, Gainesville, FL
Gene Landis at $ 6,526, Amesbury, MA
Timothy Schirmang at $ 5,007, Wellfleet, MA
Jon MacLaren at $ 4,258, Walpole, NH
Francey Beall/Kathryn Rafter, $ 4,077, Dallas, TX and Provincetown
Jeff Giles at $ 3,631, Jamaica Plain, MA
Team Joan (Nagle) at $3,500, Boston, MA.

Although the Swim is not a race, each swimmer is timed.The fastest male swimmer is Justin Burkhardt from Cape Elizabeth, ME at 30:45, and the fastest female swimmer is Nellie Thompson from Wellesley, MA at 33:21.

Two US Coast Guard boats, along with four auxiliary Coast Guard boats and the full support of the Provincetown Harbormaster were joined by the Center for Coastal Studies and a phalanx of charter and recreational boats to provide emergency and safety support. Swimmer safety has become a heightened concern in light of the rising seal and shark populations in the area. The Provincetown Rescue Squad was on shore along with the event’s medical team.

“With safety our primary focus, we are blessed once again with the community’s support that brought our magnificent harbor to life,” stated Jay Critchley, director and founder of the Provincetown Community Compact, sponsor of the event. The Compact is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary this year.

Those who swam ten years or raised $10,000 joined the Circle of Honor and received handcrafted medallions from Christie Andresen of Taqwa Glassworks:
Jane Barber, Breckenridge, CO and Provincetown
Rebecca Armstrong, Pownal, VT
Michael Kennedy, Cambridge, MA
Boe Morgan, Moving Violations Team, Roslindale, MA
Nancy Ballard, Medfield, MA
Edward Nardell, Brookline, MA
Claire Levine, Arlington, MA.

Fifty-five swimmers and kayakers, who raised enough pledges to join the $1,000 Club, selected gift certificates from $10,000 worth of prizes donated by seventy-five businesses and individuals. Town officials, including Select Board Chair Louise Venden and Town Moderator Mary Jo Avellar.

Business sponsors of the 2018 Swim for Life include: the Provincetown Banner (media sponsor), Seamen’s Bank (lead sponsor), and the Lobster Pot Restaurant, Far Land Provisions, Boatslip Resort & Beach Club, Fanizzi’s Restaurant, Harbor Hotel, Berta Walker Gallery, Cape Air, Bay State Cruise, Art’s Dune Tours, WOMR 92.1 FM, ProTools and Seashore Point.

Other businesses and organizations that supported the event include: Mayflower Trolley, CeeJay, Schooner Hindu, Flyer’s Boat Rentals and Aquasports. Provincetown Visitor Services Board, Provincetown Chamber, Provincetown Business Guild, Blue Coast beverages, Cape Cod National Seashore, Cape Cod Paper, DFlax and Perkins Food.

The Swim funds a wide range of community organizations that include: AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod, Helping Our Women, Outer Cape Health Services, Soup Kitchen of Provincetown, Provincetown Rescue Squad, Lower Cape Ambulance, Accessible Provincetown, The Compact Community Fund, Provincetown Schools, West End Racing Club and Cape Cod Children’s Place.

The 32nd annual Provincetown Swim for Life & Paddler Flotilla will be held September 7, 2019.
For more information: www.swim4life.org.