This summer, while you and I “swam” — in other words, did a lap or two in a clear, chemically balanced pool — 5 Westport teenagers swam.
In other words, they started at Port Jefferson, Long Island. They finished in Bridgeport. In between, they stroked their way — for 15 long, choppy miles — across Long Island Sound.
The event was the 24th annual Swim Across the Sound. It’s a benefit for St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation. This year 3 Abel siblings — Larry, Joss and Verity, and fellow Staples swim team members Kyle Bacon and Gabby Wimer — swam in honor of the Abels’ father, a cancer survivor, and Masato Sakaguchi, a 4-year-old from Fairfield who died a year ago of a brain tumor.
The swimmers rotated half-mile shifts. Together, they covered the 15 1/2 miles in 6 hours, 5 minutes and 2 seconds.
That’s about the time it took me this summer to apply sunscreen. It earned the Westporters — all present or former Staples swim team members — 5th place overall.
This month, MSG Varsity ran a story on the quintet.
“It was way choppier than I thought it would be,” Joss said during the segment. “And all the (support) boats looked the same.”
“It was 20 times more tiring than I thought,” Verity added. “Every splash of water felt like a tsunami.”
Kyle said, “I went into the last leg tired, and I came out tired. But the adrenaline made me feel good.”
So does the knowledge that he — and his 4 waterlogged, weary but motivated friends — raised $11,000 to help turn the tide against cancer.