Rough waters are still swimmable waters! Despite challenging conditions, the 15th annual Fat Salmon swim went off without a hitch on Saturday, July 19th. The Soundkeeper crew was out in force. Puget Soundkeeper and Executive Director Chris Wilke and Patrol Coordinator Paul Fredrickson manned Safety Boat #1, which transported lifeguards to their stations and served as a rescue boat for any swimmers who had to be pulled from the race. Development Director Shana Pennington-Baird and stellar volunteer Christine Froschl took charge of an onshore info tent to promote our Swim Guide and volunteer programs. The booth was busy and our shelter got some additional use by race organizers when the wind picked up.
The high registration and smiling faces at the event provided ample evidence of the love that Pacific Northwesterners have for their water. Soundkeeper’s entire mission revolves around keeping our waters clean and safe for the enjoyment of all, and we were proud to support the Fat Salmon swim for the second year in a row. Over 300 swimmers launched from Leschi, just north of the I-90 bridge, and swam 3.2 miles to the finish line in Madison Park. The men’s division set new race records this year, clocking in at 1:00:46 in the no-wetsuit portion and 1:00:42 with wetsuits on. First place prizes were – what else? – a whole Fat Chinook Salmon. No swimmers were disqualified for being too slow, and only a few were pulled from the race due to muscle cramps. Congrats to an amazing job by all swimmers!
The Fat Salmon swimmers have a head start on Waterkeeper Alliance’s Swimmable Water Weekend, a watery celebration taking place July 24-26th. What does swimmable water mean? The Clean Water Act provides a standard that all of our waterways need to meet to be safe for swimming and other human contact. We hope you will join us! By jumping in you will help make a statement about why it’s important that we uphold these protections.
Participation is simple: Check the Swim Guide for the closest clean beaches, pack a towel, and get wet. To share your experiences with other swimmers and clean water advocates, post your photos and video to social media with the hashtag #SwimmableWater. And keep an eye out for some swimming Soundkeepers in the next few days – we work hard so we can play safely in the waters we protect.