Frogman Swim Tampa Bay Benefits Navy Seal Foundation. This is one of the most amazing events I’ve ever had the honor to witness. Learn about The Navy Seal Foundation here. You can donate here. Scroll down and see photos of some of our greatest American Heroes. Many of their friends and families swim, and work hard for this cause every day of the year.
In 2019 I was an “alternate” volunteer swimmer guide. There is one “guide” assigned to every swimmer to help them in open water swim across Tampa Bay, and keep them safe for the Frogman. Great event, and this was my 2nd year participating. But, I didn’t have a swimmer, and was on stand bye if needed.
Then, a volunteer coordinator asked me if I could help a last-minute entry? His name, Flynn Coffey, an 18 yr old kid from Norwalk CT. Flynn had never done an “open water swim”, so was entered in the “swim fins” category. He said he had done “miles” in the pool. Think we started in the 3rd heat. Swimmers start in small groups of 20 or 30 so we don’t log jam. That’s dangerous in open water. Swimmers need to see their guides at all times, and the other way around. Easy to lose sight in rough, open water.
Well, Flynn and I talked about hand signals, distance, and safety options. He liked that I was “easier to see” then other guides as almost ALL are in kayaks, and I was standing on an SUP, so taller in the water. Easier to see me between breaths for a kid who had no idea where we were going. I wasn’t that sure either.
Flynn took off like a rocket. Hand signals helped him move “closer” to me, and sometimes “away” from me because he started to pass swimmers. Lots of swimmers. We passed the entire heat of swimmers in front of us (no easy task). Then, passed the first heat in front of them. After an hour, Flynn and I approached the beach over 3 miles later, and no one was in front of us. He passed them all. That was fun. For a great cause. We’re gonna do it again Sunday. Come join us for the launch a Gandy Beach. Join us for the after party. And, by all means, Donate Here.