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Aug 20, 2019 5:39 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Swimmers Come Out In Support Of Third Annual Swim For The Cure

The third annual Swim For The Cure was held at the home of Billy, Dominique and Tommy Kahn in East Hampton on Saturday. KYRIL BROMLEY
Aug 20, 2019 5:47 PM

Billy, Dominique and Tommy Kahn once again graciously opened up their East Hampton home, and three-lane, regulation-size 25-yard personal pool, to host the third annual Swim for the Cure swim meet on Saturday.

While the focus for much of the day was swimming, the event is for a just cause: to bring awareness to the need to find a cure for pancreatic cancer. East Hampton’s top swimmers come in for the day to compete, create new friendships and spend several hours with family and friends, and all proceeds of the event go directly to the Lustgarten Foundation, the largest private funder of pancreatic cancer research.

This year’s meet was heavily attended by several members of the East Hampton Hurricanes swim team and its coaches, the Masters swimmers from the East Hampton YMCA and swimmers from the New York Athletic Club in New York City. Swimmers’ ages ranged from 7 to 79 and each competed individually in the 50-yard freestyle, 50-yard backstroke, 50-yard breaststroke, 50-yard butterfly and the 100-yard freestyle. There were several “fun” relays also, such as the 100-yard medley relay, the 50-yard parent (or friend) and child (with a minimum of a 20-year age difference between them) relay, a T-shirt relay and a walk-through-the-water relay.

“The relays were especially exciting and successful in upholding the spirit of creating new friendships across the expanse of different ages in attendance,” Angelika Cruz, a coach on the Hurricanes who helped organize the event, said. “The younger Hurricane swimmers were especially thrilled to be paired with recently graduated top college swimmers in the relays. The whole meet was an experience they won’t forget.”

There was also some tough competition in the individual age group events. Swimmers not only vied for the fastest times in each event, but also to see who could score the highest number of points in the most events to win the award given in honor of Dr. Charles Van Der Horst, which was new to the event this year. Dr. Charlie, as he was affectionately known to local swimmers, was a highly regarded swimmer in his own right and an accomplished doctor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Charlie attended the Swim for the Cure the first two years of its existence, but he died at the end of a 23-mile swim in the Hudson River this past June.

“He was an avid swimmer, who inspired many others to swim, both beginners and swimmers who had been out of the pool for a long time. His love for the sport led him to eagerly participate in many Masters meets and open water swims,” Cruz said. “As a competitor in Swim for the Cure since its beginning, Dr. Charlie eagerly swam in every event.”

The Charles Van Der Horst Memorial Award was given to the male and female swimmer over the age of 20 who competed in every event and scored the most points in those events. The inaugural award winners were Tom Cohill, who is the head coach of the Hurricanes swim team, and Laura Gunderson, a former Hurricane and current Masters swimmer at the East Hampton Y and new member of the East Hampton Volunteer Ocean Rescue. In the 40 to 49 age group, Cohill finished first in the 50 free, 50 back and 50 breast, and second in the 50 fly and the 100 free. In the 20 to 29 age group, Gunderson finished first in the 50 free, 50 back and 50 breast, and second in the 50 fly and 100 free. Tracy Kwan of New York and David Draper of Michigan were the runner-ups.

The age group leading scorers were Daisy Pitches and Patrick O’Donnell in the 12-and-under age group; Summer Jones and Curran O’Donnell in the 13-to-19 age group; Gunderson and Henril Morel in the 20-to-29 age group; Kwan and Jan Viviani in the 30-to-39 age group; Chantarelle Sung and Cohill in the 40-to-49 age group; Nicky Bindler and David Draper in the 50-to-59 age group; and there was a tie between Mike Bottini and Mike Wooton in the 60-to-69 age group.

“Swim for the Cure began three years ago at the home of Bill, Dominique and Tommy Kahn to commemorate Jean Treadwell, the mother of Tim Treadwell, our outstanding Masters swim/triathlon coach at the East Hampton Y,” Cruz explained. “Over the years, we have learned that many of us, in some way, have been touched by this terrible disease. As the swim has grown in size and excitement, everyone has come to understand that their participation and contributions, by bringing awareness to the fight, has really made a difference. The swimming community strongly supports the outstanding research, funded in part by their contributions to the Lustgarten Foundation, which is unquestionably the best strategy in fighting pancreatic cancer.”

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