More than 400 swimmers, nine Olympians and a Paralympian will be swimming in the waters of Lake Lanier this weekend.
Swim Across America’s Atlanta swim will be at the Lake Lanier Olympic Park, with registration starting at 7 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2. Swim Across America events have been held on Lake Lanier before at Lanier Islands, but this will be the first time the event will be held at the Olympic Park on the north end of the lake. The swim raises funds for cancer research.
Every swimmer in the event has their own story and journey. Atlanta native Vickie Bunke began hers after the death of her daughter, Grace Bunke, in 2018 after a long fight with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. Grace was an avid swimmer and participated in several Swim Across America charity events as well as being a part of the U.S Paralympic swim team.
To honor the 14 years that her daughter lived, Bunke dedicated herself to swimming 14 open water events in five months with Swim Across America — Tampa, Detroit, Nantucket, Larchmont, Long Island, Fairfield, Charleston, Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, Seattle, Baltimore, Dallas and finally back to Atlanta.
Swim Across America
What: Open swim event to raise funds to fight cancer
When: 8 a.m. Oct. 2
Where: Lake Lanier Olympic Park, 3105 Clarks Bridge Road, Gainesville
In this final swim, she’ll be joined by her daughter’s teammate and five-time Paralympic medalist, Mallory Weggemann. So far, team Amazing Grace has raised over $41,000 throughout their swims with all proceeds going to fund pediatric cancer research at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center in Atlanta. The funding will specifically raise money for a group of young and future research leaders to promote their research in that field.
“This funding helps make their work possible and ultimately helps to save lives,” said Patty Gregory, partner with Bluebird Communications Consultants and Swim Across America.
The event will kick off with awards and a special ceremony at 8 a.m. with swims lasting from 8:30-9:30 a.m. The swims will be 5K, one mile and half mile. Swimmers can register at the event for a fee of $100 plus a fundraising minimum between $200 and $400 depending on the length of the swim and age of the swimmer. The event is free to attend.
Olympians will be available for photographs and autographs after the swim.
COVID-19 precautions will be taken as needed. For more information, visit www.swimacrossamerica.org.