2018-08-09 / News

Olympian leads swimmers across East Passage


A few dozen of the 314 swimmers who participated in the 42nd annual Save The Bay event pass by the Newport Pell Bridge on their way from Naval Station Newport to Potter’s Cove. The swim is the group’s main fundraiser with an annual goal of $325,000. SAVE THE BAY A few dozen of the 314 swimmers who participated in the 42nd annual Save The Bay event pass by the Newport Pell Bridge on their way from Naval Station Newport to Potter’s Cove. The swim is the group’s main fundraiser with an annual goal of $325,000. SAVE THE BAY Despite a humble plea at the starting line, there were no surprises Saturday when the first female swimmer popped her head out of the water.

Olympian Elizabeth Beisel, a threetime medalist who swam for North Kingstown High School from 2007- 10, posted the fastest time at the 42nd annual Save The Bay fundraiser. The 25-year-old University of Florida alum finished the 1.7-mile swim from Naval Station Newport to Potter’s Cove in 40 minutes, 17 seconds, according to the unofficial results.

“I won’t be going fast,” Beisel said before embarking across the open water. “I’m a little rusty.”


ABOVE: Columbia Avenue’s Stephanie Cotsonas was the first Jamestowner across the finish line, finishing 29th overall. She also was the 10th fastest woman. PHOTOS BY ANDREA VON HOHENLEITEN ABOVE: Columbia Avenue’s Stephanie Cotsonas was the first Jamestowner across the finish line, finishing 29th overall. She also was the 10th fastest woman. PHOTOS BY ANDREA VON HOHENLEITEN Surrounded by colorful kayakers, 314 swimmers participated in the event, which is Save The Bay’s top fundraiser with a goal of $325,000 annually. Although it is not marketed as a competitive race, there are scores of swimmers who try to post their best times possible.

Stephanie Cotsonas, a Columbia Avenue resident, was the first Jamestowner across the finish line. She finished 29th overall, completing the course in 50 minutes, 54 seconds. Cotsonas was the 10th fastest female and finished seventh out of 68 swimmers in the 40-49 age division.

More importantly, according to Save The Bay, Cotsonas was a member of the top fundraising team, SwimRI, which raised more than $32,000.

The fastest male swimmer from Jamestown was Brian Nathan. The Coronado Street resident finished the swim in 52 minutes, three seconds, directly behind Cotsonas in their age group. Jamestowners Dean Jennings and Robert Nelson also broke the hour mark.


RIGHT: Olympian Elizabeth Beisel finished the 1.7-mile swim with the fastest time, 40 minutes, 17 seconds. RIGHT: Olympian Elizabeth Beisel finished the 1.7-mile swim with the fastest time, 40 minutes, 17 seconds. The only other Jamestown resident to crack the top 10 in his age group was John A. Murphy. The Narragansett Avenue lawyer placed sixth in the 70-79 division after finishing the swim in one hour, 14 minutes and 54 seconds.

Before the event, Beisel, who was the swim’s ambassador, emphasized the importance of Narragansett Bay as Rhode Island’s most important natural resource.

“That’s why I started swimming,” she said. “Because I lived in the Ocean State.”



BELOW: Jamestowners John A. Murphy and Deb Foppert congratulate each other after finishing the race. BELOW: Jamestowners John A. Murphy and Deb Foppert congratulate each other after finishing the race.

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