March 3, 2008
First annual Seal Swim was a chilling event
By IRENE NOLAN
Island’s first annual Seal Swim didn’t last very long
– maybe about five minutes. However, all those who took a
quick dip in the chilly Atlantic to benefit Locomotion, the
island’s teen association, will remember it.
And so will Locomotion director Kathy Kiddy. The event raised
more than $1,200 for the teen group, much more than many of its other
The morning of the Seal Swim, Saturday, March 1, was seasonably cool
– in the mid-50s – but the southwest wind was steady and
gusty, which made it feel much colder on the beach in front of The
Outer Banks Motel in Buxton. The ocean water temperature was
about 47 degrees when about 14 swimmers headed for the dive into the
While a crowd of people watched from the beach, the brave made a sprint
to the ocean, got wet, and got out as fast as they got in.
Outstanding among the sprinters was Russ Kiddy, who obviously will go
to any length to help his wife raise money for the teens. Kiddy
was outfitted in a purple tulle tutu, purple fishnet hose, pink Crocs,
and a pink boa. Needless to say, he stood out among the folks
milling around on the beach.
Kristen Ferguson and Megan Higginbotham, who were the only two who
showed up early to enter the sand sculpture contest that preceded the
Seal Swim, must be recognized for their stamina while building an
outstanding sand castle on the beach.
Friends and supporters showed up early to visit with each other and
support their Seal Swimmers. The Dare County Sheriff’s
Office helped with traffic, the Hatteras Island Rescue Squad had a boat
in the water, and Dare County Emergency Medical Service personnel stood
guard on the beach – along with Anita Bills of Frisco, a
Carol Dillon, owner of the Outer Banks Motel, gave the group her
blessing to have the event on her motel’s beachfront, and the
National Park Service agreed to let the group have their gathering and
dip in the ocean. Afterward, the swimmers and their supporters had
coffee and hot chocolate at Keith Gray’s Diamond Shoals
“It was just a good time had by friends and neighbors,” said Kiddy.
The goal of the Seal Swim and a goal of Locomotion, Kiddy said, is to
raise the awareness of the problems of substance abuse on the island.
The second annual Seal Swim will be on Saturday, March 7, 2009.
This year’s intrepid swimmers were Rich Kenner, Kerry Hooper,
Richard Augustson, and Kevin Scarborough, representing Cape Hatteras
Electric Cooperative; Sherry Smith, representing Vane Brothers Tug Boat
in Baltimore, Md.; visitors Nick Rossi and Andy Kennedy, and Alissa
Oberbeck, Kristen Ferguson, Megan Higginbotham, Russ Kiddy, Travis
Salyers, Libby Tawes, and Wolfgang Blackwood.
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