Great Barrington — Last Saturday, March 11, Berkshire South Community Center held its 7th annual Swim-A-Thon to raise money for its adaptive needs programming and equipment. Amid the splashing, stroking, cheering and shivering, more than 46 participants swam their hearts out for a good cause.
Swimmers signed up as individuals or as relay teams, and then they sought sponsorships to reward them for their efforts. They had up to two hours to swim up to 200 pool lengths (that’s close to 3 miles), but it was perfectly acceptable to swim fewer lengths in shorter time frames. “This is a contest in which everybody wins,” explained the Center’s aquatics manager, Travis Baily. “There are no prizes. Every participant sets his own challenge and reaches his own goal.”
The fundraising goal for this year’s Swim-A-Thon is $10,000. The Center reports that donations have already pushed the total well over the halfway mark, and more money is coming in. Donations are still needed and welcome at https://berkshiresouth.org/swim-a-thon-donation/.
This year saw the biggest turnout in the Swim-A-Thon’s history. In its first year, five entrants raised $700. Last year, 35 entrants raised $8,500. And now, in year 7, some 46 entrants are expected to bring in $10,000.
For at least 4 hours, all the pool lanes were occupied by swimmers. Three participants were 7 years old. The oldest swimmer was 68 years old. One participant, a man who was hit by a car last Father’s Day, made it into the pool and swam. Residents of High Spirit Community Farm in Great Barrington were swimming with their caretakers. Berkshire South’s own swim team, the Team Spirits, were there, too. So were Berkshire South executive director Jenice Lucey, aquatics manager Travis Bailey, and lifeguard Bailey Tavernia.
But no one was more pleased about the success of this event than 24-year-old Dylan Kubis of Sheffield. The Center’s adaptive needs program has special meaning for Kubis. Never allowing his Down Syndrome to get in his way, he is a regular at Berkshire South where he swims and works out. And this year, he serves as official Swim-a-Thon ambassador, encouraging others to participate both by example and enthusiasm. And he swam 100 lengths of the pool this year, beating his last year’s record of 82!
Below is an interview with Kubis about his routine at Berkshire South: