Provincetown’s “Swim for Life” takes to water September 7, 2019

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Logo by Vicky Tomayko

Swimmers, kayakers, cheerleaders, and other volunteers are invited to the Provincetown Swim for Life & Paddler Flotilla on September 7, 2019. Presented by the Provincetown Community Compact, and supported by a dozen or so local businesses, this year’s 1.4-mile Swim for Life is the thirty-second iteration of this benefit celebrating the healing waters and ecology of this natural harbor, while raising money for local AIDS and women’s health services.

Begun in 1988 when artist Jay Critchley and dancer Walter McLean decided to swim across Provincetown Harbor to test themselves, Swim for Life was organized by the two individuals two weeks later. Traditionally held the weekend after Labor Day, the event attracts swimmers, kayakers, volunteers and friends from throughout the country and abroad.

Pre-registration for the event is not required, but swimmers and kayakers need to register at the Boatslip Beach Club, 161 Commercial Street, from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. on the day of the Swim to receive their cap, number, and t-shirt. Participants should bring their pledges with them. Due to the unpredictability of the weather and water temperatures, organizers suggest that swimmers wear a wetsuit, provided free on the day of the Swim, after swimmers are registered. Swimmers may also use flippers, tubes, water wings—”whatever it takes to get you in the water and motivate you to participate.”

Photo by Mike Syers

The logo For Swim 2019 features an image of a frog by artist Vicky Tomayko. “The frog reminds us of the fragility of our place in the ecosystem. It is especially sensitive to its surroundings, partially breathing through its skin. With climate change a major factor in the future of the town and the Swim, we confront the risk of seals and sharks and grapple with flooding and warming seas pushing whales and lobsters into colder northern waters,” the organizers said in a release.

On the night before the Swim—Friday, September 6—the annual Celebration of Life Concert will take place at 8:00 p.m. at the UU Meeting House, 236 Commercial Street, Provincetown.


For more information about and to register for the Swim for Life, log on to https://swim4life.org. For more information about The Provincetown Community Compact, 7 Carnes Lane, Provincetown, MA 02657, check out https://thecompact.org.

—Reporting by Hank Trout


Hank Trout, Senior Editor, edited Drummer, Malebox, and Folsom magazines in the early 1980s. A long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS (diagnosed in 1989), he is a forty-year resident of San Francisco, where he lives with his fiancé Rick. Follow him on Twitter @HankTroutWriter.