March 3, 2005

In January, swimmers from three New York City Masters swim teams—Team New York Aquatics (TNYA), YWCA of New York, and Red Tide—organized their annual One Hour Swim fundraiser. For the second consecutive year, AIDS Service Center NYC is honored to be the local HIV/AIDS organization selected by the three teams as the event's beneficiary.

"The team decided to use the One Hour Swim as a fundraiser about 14 years ago because one of the swimmers on the team was HIV-positive and was having a hard time paying his bills," explained Bill Carr, TNYA president. "We've done the same thing every year since." To generate the funds, swimmers gather sponsorships for each lap they swim during the event.

To show our appreciation, ASC was poolside during this year's event, offering nourishment and support to the swimmers. ASC's trained volunteers provided massage and aural acupressure, as well as staffing a snack table stocked with juice, sports drinks, bananas, Powerbars, and donuts.

"The One Hour Swim is exhilarating to watch," remarked Sharen Duke, ASC Executive Director/CEO. "It's also incredibly humbling to see athletes from all over New York City swim thousands of laps to raise awareness and resources to help people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS."

Exhilarating indeed. At City College, the first one-hour heat began at 7:40 a.m. For each round, up to twelve swimmers occupied the pool's six lanes. Hour after hour, swimmers crisscrossed the pool, cheered on by teammates, onlookers and, of course, the delegation from ASC. As swimmers concluded their one-hour swims, volunteers recorded splits and measured distances. When the whistle blew at the end of each hour, weary but exuberant swimmers loitered briefly and allowed themselves to be heartily congratulated before the next heat dove in.

This scene repeated itself again and again until the last heat finished at 5:00 p.m. In all, 125 swimmers swam a total of 472,390 yards—the equivalent of 268 miles! In addition to the City College event, swimmers from the YWCA team held One Hour Swim events at their home pool in Midtown Manhattan.

The hard work of the event's organizers and the enthusiasm of the swimmers made the 2005 One Hour Swim a resounding success. The event was characterized by a distinct sense of camaraderie and cooperation between the teams and individual swimmers. Most swimmers competed against themselves for personal bests, but behind it all was the goal of lending support to AIDS Service Center NYC and the work we do. In the words of Bill Carr, "ASC is a local organization that addresses many facets of HIV and its effect on people. We were impressed by ASC's poetry program, its focus on women's services, and its outreach to all kinds of at-risk groups." ASC is extremely grateful for this continued partnership.

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