A group of swimmers trekked across Colvos Passage on Friday during the seventh annual Swim with FISH event.
The fundraiser is for the Gig Harbor/Peninsula FISH Food Bank. Thirteen swimmers participated and raised $2,780 and 27 food items.
“I think this event was the most successful we have had to date,” event founder Steve Rees said.
The event was created by neighbors Rees and Peter Bortel when they looked from their backyards across to the Point Richmond Beach and decided they could swim across. The first event in 2007 included five swimmers and about two dozen spectators.
The event has grown in size and was turned into a fundraiser three years ago. Fifteen participants made the swim across the passage last year with 100 viewers.
Friday was one of the colder days of the summer but made for excellent swimming conditions. Rees measured the water at 54 degrees, which is warmer than normal, he said.
Swimmers wore wetsuits to protect themselves from the cold water.
“It went well,” Rees said. “We had no conflicts in the water.”
Everyone made it across the passage.
Surface support, usually a kayaker, follows a specific swimmer to protect them during the swim. They guide the swimmer and carry a orange flag to warn boaters a person is in the water. There was a total of 15 kayakers, five power boats and one yacht this year to help with safety and visibility, Rees said.
The swim is done at high tide to minimize the effects of the currents. Participants began their swim about 4:30 p.m.
Swimmers departed from the residence of Jane Mcready on Vashon Island, Rees said.
The total distance is one statute mile. Drew Kellerman earned the fastest time this year at 29 minutes, 43 seconds, but he did not beat the record time of 28:07 from a previous year.
The youngest swimmer, Athena Petterson, 11, made it in 35:55.
Rees credits neighbors, friends and sponsors for helping to make the event happen and to create a fun atmosphere.
“The neighborhood was very involved,” he said.
Everyone donated food for the after party. Seventy-five people attended the celebration.
Performer Mary Farr donated her time and provided music for the event. The celebration was the longest one of the seven years, Rees said.
“People had a good time,” he said.