2010 Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim
Neither rain nor gray skies kept hundreds of patriotic swimmers away from the 19th Annual Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim today. They swam with colorful foam noodles, inner tubes shaped like turtles, swimming fins, and homemade floating devices contraptions. Organizer Michael Haymans shouted out instructions around 8:55 a.m. including asking the crowd whether they were up for the swim.
The Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim is not a race and is gloriously unorganized. Other than using common sense, there aren’t any other rules. For those wanting to exercise the right to experience “freedom” literally, they were instructed to swim to the sailboat with the red, white and blue sail to have their swim trunks run up the mast. Dozens of other boaters in kayaks, pontoon boats and motorized craft patrolled the water to offer support to the swimmers.
I didn’t swim in this year’s event but I was there to offer support for those swimmers with a sense of adventure. Those who swam said it easier than last year meaning the currents practically carried them across the less than 2 mile course. Some said they felt the stings of small jelly fish out there while others said they saw a dead fish or two.
The first swimmers came ashore at Fishermen’s Village’s Harpoon Harry’s about 45 minutes after the race began. After 90 minutes there were still some stragglers blobbling in to the finish line and imagine even after 2 hours there were some still completing the swim.
Maybe next year I’ll swim to celebrate the 20th Annual Freedom Swim. For now, check out photos from the 2010 event over on my Flickr account.