Pete Palmer, 76, is an avid swimmer and is seen at the pool at the Wardle Family YMCA in Port Royal. He is passionate about making sure children in Beaufort County learn to swim.

Making waves: Beaufort River Swim benefits Learn to Swim program at YMCA

Wardle Family YMCA’s 6th Annual River Swim will take place this Saturday, May 26. This event attracts swimmers from all over the Lowcountry from teens to seasoned adults in their 70’s, including Pete Palmer, an avid swimmer and a member of the Master Swim Team at the Y.
The event is a three mile, open water swim along the shoreline of the Beaufort River.
The River Swim continues to grow in popularity and the Y is hoping for an even greater turnout over previous years.

Pete Palmer, 76, is an avid swimmer and is seen at the pool at the Wardle Family YMCA in Port Royal. He is passionate about making sure children in Beaufort County learn to swim.

Proceeds from the Beaufort River Swim benefit the YMCA of Beaufort County’s Learn to Swim Program. Last year the Y raised more than $2,000 for the swimming programs. In addition to support from the River Swim, a scholarship program and outside grants from nonprofits such as the United Way and Rotary helped raise and contribute more than $28,000 to aquatics in 2011. More than 500 individuals were impacted through swim lessons and aquatic programming and education that were provided by the YMCA throughout the year.
Swimmers of all levels participate in the River Swim: triathletes, recreational lap swimmers and competitive age group swimmers. The race starts at Port Royal Landing Marina between 8:30 and 9 a.m., travels around the bend, passes the Beaufort Memorial Hospital, and finishes at the boat ramp at the corner of the Downtown Marina, adjacent to the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. Supporters can get a great look at the swimmers coming down the river in their multi-colored swim caps along the bluffs on Bay Street Saturday morning.
Pete Palmer, who has lived in Beaufort for 11 years, is on the committee at the Y for the Learn to Swim Program and said, “It’s not simply about the River Swim, it’s about the kids.”
He said swimming saves lives, and that the leading cause of accidental death in children ages 3-11 is drowning. Especially with the amount of water in Beaufort County and the Lowcountry, he feels it’s even more important that kids here learn proper swimming techniques and to be familiar with the water, not just in the pool, but the ocean and other waterways.
Palmer recently went to nationals with his Master Swim Team in Greensboro, N.C., and said he beat his time, so he was pleased. At 76, he jokingly said he has outlived most of his competition.
“I am passionate about the Learn to Swim program,” he said, and added that supporting the river swim benefits a great cause.
The YMCA hopes to continue to grow and be able to raise money to serve more individuals in the community who want to learn to swim. Come out and be a part of this great event and help them toward their goal.
The YMCA is a not for profit organization promoting youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. The organization is overseen by a volunteer board of directors within the community.
For more information or to register, visit www.ymcabeaufortcounty.com or call 843-522-9622.

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