Forty-eight swimmers, 15 rescue  kayakers and several stand-up paddleboarders participated in the third annual Swim the Sound event on Sunday.

The Virgin Islands Search and Rescue fundraising event started at Saba Rock and finished at Leverick Bay, where participants had lunch and played games as part of Water World.

About $14,000 was raised for the non-profit organisation, which doubled last year’s amount.  

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“Our goal was to do better than last year,” said VISAR Executive Administrator and event organiser Katie LaDouceuer.

She said the volunteer organisation relies heavily on donations and fundraising events, like Swim the Sound. More than $100,000 is needed to keep the organisation afloat each year. Participants raised at least $100 in sponsorship to compete in the event.

Swimmers had the option of doing a two or three mile course — assisted or unassisted.

“Most people are swimming unassisted, which means no snorkel or fins,” Ms. LaDouceuer said.  “However, we do have a couple people swimming with snorkel and fins.”

More than 20 volunteers, who either kayaked or paddleboarded along with the swimmers, helped protect the participants from any boating traffic in North Sound. Two VISAR boats also provided assistance on the water by alerting passing boats that a swimming race was under way.

See full story in the June 9, 2011 issue.