Organizers cancel 2020 Long Bridge Swim

| June 17, 2020 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — After much discussion and exploring several options, the organizers of the annual Long Bridge Swim have decided to cancel this year’s event.

They considered delaying the 1.76 mile swim but due to the ever-changing nature of the coronavirus pandemic situation, they felt it was necessary to cancel this year’s swim, and provide participants, volunteers, sponsors and spectators with two months notice.

Participants who have already registered for this year’s swim may request a refund or defer their registration until the 2021 Long Bridge Swim, which will be held on Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021. The organizers hope many participants will consider a third option: donating their registration fee to the Swim Lessons Initiative which provides water safety and swim lessons to over 1,000 children each year.

Created over 10 years ago, the mission of the program is to have no child in Bonner County get past third grade without learning how to swim. If all swimmers who have registered thus far donated their registration fee, about a quarter of the cost of the program would be covered for the 2020-21 school year.

They also urge participants who have not yet registered to consider making a donation to the Long Bridge Swim to support the Swim Lessons Initiative. If all swimmers who have not yet registered (or delayed registering because of the pandemic) chose to make a $25 donation, approximately half of the cost of the program would be covered for the 2020-21 school year.

The organizers are also asking their loyal sponsors to continue to support the Long Bridge Swim this year. One hundred percent of sponsor contributions go to the Swim Lessons Initiative, so any and all sponsorship support will help the event fulfill their commitment to teaching kids to swim this year.

The Long Bridge Swim continues to be completely volunteer run, with no paid staff. To deliver the Swim Lessons Initiative, the Long Bridge Swim contracts with the local YMCA for pool time and water safety staff. Long Bridge Swim then provides volunteers to support the teaching of all lessons which substantially reduces the cost of the program and allows free lessons to be offered to over a 1,000 students each year.

The event’s more than 250 race day volunteers will miss seeing over 700 swimmers from dozens of states and several countries race across Lake Pend Oreille this summer for what would have been the 26th anniversary of the Long Bridge Swim.

Go to www.longbridgeswim.org to make a contribution to the Swim Lessons Initiative.