Women Swimmin’ for Hospicare is a community swim (not a race!) that benefits Hospicare & Palliative Care Services. Swimmers (and some boaters and volunteers) raise money to support hospice, palliative care and bereavement services in our community. We are honored by the enthusiasm and interest our community has for this event!
Q: Why do you limit the number of registrants?
A: Your safety is our first priority, and the Women Swimmin' Safety Committee sets a maximum number of registrants based on how many swimmers we can safely accommodate.
Q: Why not make Women Swimmin’ a 2-day event to accommodate more swimmers?
A: Hundreds of people are involved in this event, including volunteers, escort boaters, the Coast Guard, Tompkins County Sheriff, Bangs Ambulance, Ithaca Bakery and Collegetown Bagels, and the Ithaca Yacht Club. These individuals and groups donate significant time, space and resources already, and our commitment to them is that we will do everything possible to prevent interrupting their normal flow of business.
Q: How about extending the event throughout the day to allow more women to participate?
A: The safety of swimmers and boaters is our top priority. With 18 years of swims behind us, we know that Cayuga Lake often gets choppier as the day progresses. Traffic on the lake, including power boaters also tends to become busier mid-morning. Finally, the Ithaca Yacht Club has been very generous in hosting the event each year, and their members deserve to have their club back for usual Saturday recreation and events.
Q: Do previous swimmers have to a chance to register before everyone else can?
A: We allow a limited number of swimmers to register early based on the total amount of money they have raised over the past 18 years. Each year about a third of our swimmers are new to the event and excited to swim! We don’t want to diminish their enthusiasm or limit the accessibility of the event to new participants.
Q. How do Lap Swimmers participate?
A. As a Lap Swimmer, you have the opportunity to register as a Going the Distance fundraiser, and to swim any distance in any pool with a certified lifeguard, between May 6 and August 13.
Q. Where does the money go?
A. Each year, Hospicare must raise nearly $1 million dollars to meet the costs of palliative care, hospice and bereavement services not covered by Medicare, Medicaid, health insurance and private pay funds. Women Swimmin’ for Hospicare is an essential part of our work in reaching that goal, allowing everyone who seeks our services to receive compassionate care while maintaining as much personal independence and autonomy as possible. All funds raised through Women Swimmin’ for Hospicare are used to provide important physical, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual support to patients, families and friends facing the hard issues of mortality and loss. Funds also allow us to provide items such as medications, oxygen, specialized medical equipment, and more to patients in their own homes and to those in our residence. We never turn anyone away because of insurance status or the inability to pay. Thanks to the generous support of our Women Swimmin' corporate sponsors, 100% of the money raised by swimmers goes directly to patient and family care.
Q. Who can I swim with?
A: In June, you will receive an email asking you who you would like to swim with, and that group of swimmin’ women is called your POD. Your POD will be given a specific time for your arrival at Cass Park. Please carpool together if your friends.
Your Fundraising Team can be the same OR different from your POD, and it can be made up of swimmers, or friends who are Going the Distance.
Q. Who is invited to swim on August 13?
A. Our swimmin’ women – including all who identify as female – must be 18 years of age or older (for insurance reasons) and raise a minimum of $300 for Hospicare by swim day. And don’t worry: we’ll give you lots of support and guidance for raising money throughout the summer! You may be surprised by how generously your friends and family give once they find out about your endeavor.
Q: When do I find out what pod I am in/what time I am swimming?
A: We begin organizing Pods two weeks before the swim, a complex process as we try to honor swimmer and boater requests and accommodate last minute cancellations or changes. When you pick up your swim packet on the week before the the swim, we’ll make sure you have all the importation details you need.
Q: What if there is a Harmful Algae Bloom the day of the event?
A: The health and safety of all our swimmers, boaters and volunteers is always our highest priority. We’re grateful for the partnerships we have with local experts who continue to keep us informed about the weather forecast and lake conditions this summer. Lake conditions change rapidly, and we are thankful for the support of the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, and the Community Science Institute whose HAB Harriers are regularly patrolling Cayuga Lake. The Harriers will inspect the entire swim course early Saturday morning. In the event that the Lake swimming portion of our event is cancelled for HABs or for weather, the party will still go on! We will gather at the Cass Park Rink to celebrate with some music, food, and fun, followed by our closing ceremonies. Please check this website and Facebook around 6:30 am for any updates.
Q: What if the lake conditions are bad the morning of the swim?
A: If there is uncertainty about lake conditions due to weather (a threat of a storm, rough water, etc.) or the presence of harmful algae blooms (HABs), the Safety Team will assess the situation the morning of the swim and post updates on womenswimmin.org or facebook.com/WomenSwimmin.
Q: What should I bring to the Swim?
A: Bring your towel, swim cap, goggles (if you want), and the disposable face mask (we will provide one for you in your swimmer's packet). We will provide a bag for you to store your towel (and glasses and cell phone) and will hand it to you when you get out of the water.
Q: What if I get tired during the swim?
A: The Kayak Safety Team will be there to help you. If you feel you cannot finish, we’ll have jet-skis available to pick you up and take you to shore. Your safety is our top priority. The big motor boat you’ll see has an 18 foot tower bridge with 3 spotters to watch the entire course and can radio the safety team whenever anyone looks like they may need help.
Q: Can I wear a wetsuit or use flippers on Swim Day?
A: Goggles, wetsuits, lava pants, and fins/flippers are all acceptable equipment to use during Women Swimmin’, but only if you’ve been swimming with them regularly prior to the swim. The day of Women Swimmin’ is not the time to try out new equipment.
FAQ FOR GO THE DISTANCE PARTICPANTS - Looking for a way to participate that works for you? We hope that you will join us between May 6 and August 13 by setting your own goals this summer and spreading the word about our services.
Q: Who can participate?
A: You can! The event is open to anyone, anywhere. All ages, all genders, all activities, all together! This is a great opportunity for a family to work together as a team towards a common goal.
Q: How does Go the Distance work?
A: Challenge yourself: How do you want to "Go the Distance" for Hospicare? Do you want to set a daily, weekly or monthly goal for yourself? Do you want to challenge yourself to walk a certain number of steps every day, or do a certain number of push-ups? Do you want to paddle the perimeter of one of the Finger Lakes? Do you want to bike up a mountain, or chop a certain amount of wood for next winter's fires? You could even set a goal to train your body to be able to one pull-up by August 13!
Bottom line: you make the rules for your participation, and we are here to celebrate your creativity and support you every step of the way!
You can read about our safety protocols in the Participant Safety Manual.