They Came, They Swam, They Bobbled Across the Peace River for Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim

3 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 Pin It Share 3 LinkedIn 0 Email -- 3 Flares ×
22nd Annual Freedom Swim Participants Cross the Peace River with Foam Noodles, Inflatable Rafts and Patriotic Colors, Charlotte Harbor, Fla., July 4, 2013

22nd Annual Freedom Swim Participants Cross the Peace River with Foam Noodles, Inflatable Rafts and Patriotic Colors, Charlotte Harbor, Fla., July 4, 2013

“Swim along the bridge!” Michael P. Haymans, co-founder of the Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim yelled out from the Gilchrist Bridge to patriotic swimmers in the Peace River. There was supposed to be a talk to swimmers somewhere around Noon before the start of the swim. As Michael explained, his uncle blew the bullhorn to get everyone’s attention to listen to instructions but a few thought it was the start of the swim and so they were off.

Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim Participant Shows Off Her American Spirit While Towing A Cooler, Punta Gorda, Fla., July 4, 2013

Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim Participant Shows Off Her American Spirit While Towing A Cooler, Punta Gorda, Fla., July 4, 2013

There are no registrations, no entry fees and no rules, with the exception of common sense. The Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim is an event full of patriotic fun and a little bit of silliness mixed with hometown pride. It’s an occasion to be, well, free in every sense of the term.

Hundreds of participants came armed with neon foam noodles, animal-shaped inflatable rafts and red, white and blue spirit. Several towed coolers behind while I saw others holding a canned adult beverage in one hand with the other hanging on to a noodle. The array of colors popping atop the tea-colored water (tannic acid from mangrove trees) is such a beautiful sight.

Swimmers Make their Way to Harpoon Harry's at Fishermens' Village, Punta Gorda, Fla, July 4, 2013

Swimmers Make their Way to Harpoon Harry’s at Fishermens’ Village, Punta Gorda, Fla, July 4, 2013

They swam, floated, paddled and bobbled more than 1.5 miles to Harpoon Harry’s at Fishermen’s Village where non-swimmers cheered each time a swimmer climbed up a wood ladder. There was also a young man doing back flips from the Harpoon Harry’s dock – see the photos below. I do not recommend you try this.

Swimmers Waiting the Beginning of the Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim, Charlotte Harbor, Fla., July 4, 2013

Swimmers Waiting the Beginning of the Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim, Charlotte Harbor, Fla., July 4, 2013

For additional photos from the Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim view my Flickr stream.

Freedom Swim Co-Founder Michael P. Haymans Speaks with Media about Bacteria Counts in the Water Prior to the Swim. July 4, 2013

Freedom Swim Co-Founder Michael P. Haymans Speaks with Media about Bacteria Counts in the Water Prior to the Swim. July 4, 2013

I love that we have these event. The Ticket Sarasota has a great article called Top 10 Reasons You Should Salute Freedom Swim Across River. Check it out!

I had a great day celebrating Independence Day and hope you did, too!

Related Post
Southwest Florida’s Quirkiest 4th of July Event is the Annual Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim

Author: Solo Travel Girl

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led Jennifer Huber, aka: Solo Travel Girl, to a career path in tourism. She has worked in the tourism industry for more than 20 years including 10 years with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley and Everglades National Park. She currently lives in Southwest Florida, and maintains this travel blog with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely.

Share This Post On

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *