April 5, 2011

11 brave swimmers hit the icy Atlantic in the 2011 Seal Swim

The morning of Saturday, April 2, was windy but sunny on the Buxton beach at the Old Lighthouse site.  The air and ocean water temperatures hovered in the mid-50s.

But that didn’t deter 11 brave swimmers from taking a dip in the ocean to raise funds for the island's local teen organization, Locomotion, the Cape Hatteras Teen Association, Inc., which provides activities for middle- and high-school students on Hatteras Island.

It was Locomotion’s third Seal Swim.

About 50 people cheered the swimmers on the way to their frosty dip. 

Dare County Emergency Medical Services was on standby with two Dare County Rescue Squad trucks on the beach, and ranger Jason Leck kept an eye on the event for the National Park Service.

There were two swimmers, Samantha Smith and Brooke Oberbeck, both 10 years old, who have watched in past years as their family members participated. This year they joined the cold and wet fun. The girls quickly encouraged Ashton Baust, who was on the beach as a supporter, to join them.

Debbie Knuckles and Doug Blackmon were among the first swimmers to sign-up. Quickly following were Marsha Sawyer Holms and Joan Burg who joined in after Kathy Kiddy, director of Locomotion, entered Avon's Beach Pharmacy to ask Marsha if a flyer could be posted there.

Joan asked Marsha if she was going to do it and a quick "NO" followed.  Joan then called Marsha a "wuss," which led to the pair joining forces to help Locomotion. Together they raised $1,006.

Not to be left out was Conner Day, a sixth grader at the Cape Hatteras Secondary School of Coastal Studies, who plunged into the ocean with his entire family on the beach as supporters, including grandmom Judy from out of town.

The pack was lead by long time swimmers Alissa Oberbeck, a sophomore at CHSS, Sherry Smith (Sam's mom), and, last but not least, Kerry Hooper.

Kiddy started the swimmers by having them line up and thanking everyone for the support given to the event.

Next it was off to the water.

Some jumped right into the deep while others were more "dippers." There’s no right or wrong way to have fun and raise money.

There were hugs all around and a huge thanks to everyone who helped in many ways from Kiddy.

She says the event raised $1,431.

 To see more pictures and a list of sponsors, you can stop by Locomotion's Changing Tide thrift shop in Buxton, which is currently open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

You can still send or drop by the shop a donation in support of the swimmers.  Send to Locomotion, P.O. Box 1152, Buxton, NC 27920.

"We will be doing this again next year, so plan on being a part of a great event" says Kiddy.  


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