(press release sent to WSBS from Berkshire South for online and on air use) 

Berkshire South Regional Community Center (BSRCC) will hold its 8th annual Swim-A-Thon fundraiser on Saturday, March 3, 2018, starting at 8 a.m. This year’s goal is to raise $15,000. Last year participants raised over $13,000. All funds raised are used to support adaptive needs programming and equipment at the Center.

Berkshire South’s adaptive needs programming strives to address the needs of all their members. They provide specially trained employees that offer classes and individualized training accessible to all and for all abilities. Berkshire South’s adaptive needs initiatives range from free swim lessons and scholarships for membership to class modifications and specialized equipment to serve members with varying levels of ability.

Berkshire South is excited to have George Wallace as their official Swim-A-Thon ambassador this year. Wallace, a Center member since childhood and a member of the adaptive needs community, hopes to encourage others both to participate in swimming and to sponsor those they know that are swimming.

Swim-A-Thon participants can register now through March 1st. Sign up to swim as an individual or as a relay team. Participants collect donations based on either the number of pool lengths that they swim or flat contributions. Swimmers have up to two hours to swim up to 200 pool lengths, but they are able to instead choose to swim any shorter length or time frame as they are able.

On a recent edition of the WSBS "Let's Talk" program, Berkshire South Assistant Aquatics Manager, Mac Wallace along with Steven Leonard, Director of Wellness and Recreation at Berkshire South, were guests on the program. The guys had some comments and insights about what the purpose is of Berkshire South's Swim-A-Thon and what the event means to the community.

Steven: The whole idea is that the swim-a-thon challenge which is two hours, 200 laps, is a challenge. I don't think for the average person that's an easy thing to do. So, we want to make it as fun and as easy for anyone to participate as they can. 

Mac: We get kids that are six. We get kids that need their caregivers to swim the whole laps with them. We get adults who were in car accidents that were told that they were never going to walk again but yet they are swimming in these things. There's alot of inspirational stories from the people in our community that show up on that day and really help out not just Berkshire South Regional Community Center but those people in our community that aren't getting the support anywhere else. It will be a fun day. 

Mac: We are taking volunteers. So if you are interested in just helping out in anyway, that would be great. We do need lane counters. We need people at the check in desk. We'll have Gatorade and snacks so we need people to help serve those. If you want to be someone to cheer on fellow members, you can do that as well. 

Steven: There are incentives. If you donate a certain amount or if you fund raise a certain amount or if you swim a certain amount, you can win a Berkshire South Swim-A-Thon sweatshirt or some swim caps and some gear from USA Swimming too.     

According to the press release, Swim-A-Thon is open to swimmers of all ages and abilities Registration packets are available at the Berkshire South Front Desk, located at 15 Crissey Road, Great Barrington, or register or donate to a participant online at www.berkshiresouth.org/swim-a-thon/. For additional information, contact the center's Aquatics Manager at (413).528.2810 ext. 12 or aquatics@berkshiresouth.org