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Money Raised Local, Stays Local

Since the inception of Swim Across America, when a new swim is created, we've partnered with a beneficiary in that community. The connection of our local swims to a local beneficiary is part of what makes SAA so special. Our beneficiaries help make the swimming experience by volunteering, sharing stories of impact and cost-share to host the charity swim. Participants are able to swim with the doctors or see them kayak as safety support. As a Swim Across America network of participants and volunteers began to grow, the reach of our research network also began to flourish.


“We promise that our swimmers will always know their impact in the fight against cancer because, at SAA, money raised locally, stays local. Each open water swim supports a beneficiary in the city where it is held… Our swimmers know that the money they raise isn’t going into a black hole.” ~ Janel Jorgensen McArdle, SAA Board Member

A Bigger Wave: How One Swim Started A Movement in Communities Across the Country

From the first swim in 1987, SAA participants have taken the charity swim idea to new communities and established new events and beneficiary relationships. This family tree exhibits how the Swim Across America community was built one community at a time.


A Research Community Grows

Inspired by the passionate Swim Across America community, many grant recipients over the years have been instrumental in helping establish new swims. Dr. Richard Gorlick, Head of Pediatrics at MD Anderson Cancer Center helped bring a new SAA swim to Houston after his long tenure in New York being supported by SAA-Nassau-Suffolk. The passion shown by SAA-funded researchers for our mission is a shared one in the fight against cancer.

"Swim Across America has supported my laboratory for over a decade… They are a giving group of people and they have taken on this cause and just done an awesome job supporting all cancer types." ~ Dr. Richard Gorlick, Head of Pediatrics, MD Anderson Cancer Center


Swim Across America is celebrating 35 years of impact in 2022. SAA has raised $100 million since its inception in 1987 to support cancer research and clinical trials across the U.S. Please contact Jeni Howard at for media inquiries.