Swimmers often stress over the little things. We get anxious when we think about waking up for morning practice and diving into the frigid water. We worry about achieving cuts for the next championship meet our friends will be at. Sometimes we get caught up in the grind that we lose sight of what we have and how fortunate we really are. Eight years ago, my friend’s son, Rickie Geyer, was diagnosed with CF.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-threatening genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system. An estimated 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide) have CF.
Rickie’s father, Ric decided he would not let CF control his son’s life. A masters swimmer and entrepreneur said he was inspired to organize an annual 14.2-mile charity swim across Lake St. Clair to raise funds for Rickie’s Medical Trust Fund and the CF Clinic at the University of Michigan’s Mott Hospital. With the support of his fellow swimming friends at the Detroit Athletic Club, Ric and the team have raised over $50,000 in the past seven years.
The members of this swim come from different backgrounds and skill levels, but they are unified by their purpose. Each commits to swimming either a segment or the entire 14 miles. The course starts at the old club off Harsens Island, and finishes approximately 14 miles Southwest at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club.
Ric describes the swim as an “annual pilgrimage” for the 15 or so who brave the elements year after year to make the lake crossing a success. It’s the family, friends, and volunteers continued support that makes a swim like this possible.
We all face adversity at some point during our lives. The question is how you react to it. This charity swim is just one example of the camaraderie and support within the swimming community. Perhaps it’s the countless hours staring at the black line on the bottom of the pool, or the agonizing sets we endure together. This close knit community can’t be found elsewhere, and it’s the reason selfless causes like this continue to grow.
I’ll be joining the crew of adventurers on July 30, rain or shine. Every open water swim has its own set of nautical challenges. We are hoping to avoid the rain, lightning, and hail that has characterized swims in years prior. With this lake crossing, we’ll voyage as one group, boats idling right besides us as we attempt to stick together and move as one unit.
Swimming St. Clair has partnered with a number of organizations who have committed their support to make this event happen! Please visit the crowdrise page below to donate or see the address to mail physical donations.
Follow the hashtag #SwimmingStClair for live updates leading up to and during the swim!