Cheryl Wagner is the race director for the Potomac River Swim, now in its 21st year. Founded by Joe Stewart (shown on left with Wagner) in 1983, Wagner has helped raise between US$12,000 and US$20,000 year in and year out.

The charity swim raised a total of US$18,000 last year which was donated to 10 beneficiaries. All the money goes to support environmental causes,” explained the always energetic swimmer-organizer.

The groups include the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Southern Maryland Sierra Club, Potomac River Association, Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, The Potomac Conservancy, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Ridge Rescue, St. Mary’s River Watershed Association, and Friends of the Shenandoah River.”

Starting as a pool swimmer with the Terrapin Masters (at the University of Maryland College Park) in 1993, Wagner quickly gravitated to doing open water swims including many of Stewart’s early eco-swims. She has also completed 15 Great Chesapeake Bay Swims to date.

She understands the joys – and hard work done behind the scenes – of hosting an event. “The challenges of directing the Potomac River Swim include recruiting enough kayakers (one for each swimmer plus extras for safety) and the logistics. I arrange free camping for all of the kayakers, as well as hotel accommodations for the volunteer boaters, and a free pre-swim supper for 125 people. Also, I hire commercial boaters to transport the swimmers, kayaks, and kayakers across the river to the start in Hull Neck, Virginia. Oh the weather is always a challenge.”

For more information on the Potomac River Swim, visit here.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source