The DC Aquatics Club (DCAC) is preparing to welcome more than 170 swimmers from the mid-Atlantic region for the 19th annual Maryland Swim for Life event on July 10 in Chestertown, Md.
''It's an open-water swimming competition that's also a fundraiser for local area HIV/AIDS organizations and the Chester River Organization,'' says Nell Orscheln, race coordinator and a member of DCAC, a nonprofit, volunteer-run swim team that strives to promote competitive swimming for LGBT swimmers and friends.
''There's music, homemade food and competition,'' she says. ''It's like no other event.
''It has that feeling of community and a feeling of togetherness. It's not just a race. It's a time for everyone to touch base on what's important to them. It's giving back, working hard and challenging yourself.''
The event locale is more than 75 miles northeast of Washington, at Rolph's Wharf Marina on the Chester River.
Last year, DCAC raised more than $35,000 during the event. This year the organization's goal is to raise $45,000 to benefit five different organizations: Heart to Hand, Pediatric HIV/AIDS Care, Quality of Life Retreats, the Chester River Association, and the Chester River Valley Ministers Association.
''Everything goes to local organizations,'' Orscheln says. ''It goes straight to them. So there's also a feeling of local togetherness. And the beneficiaries are there, so you're not only enjoying the swim, you're seeing the people that the money goes to.''
For more information about the 19th annual Maryland Swim for Life event, visit swimdcac.org. Rolph's Wharf Marina is located at 1008 Rolphs Wharf Road, Chestertown, Md.