Hudson River Swim Set for Aug. 12

Event raises funds for Beacon River Pool

By Jeff Simms

More than 150 swimmers are expected for the 14th annual Great Newburgh to Beacon Hudson River Swim, which takes place on Saturday, Aug. 12.

Dive-in is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. from Riverfront Marina in Newburgh, although the time could change if weather becomes a factor.

Kayaks monitored swimmers as they made their way across the river in the 2014 swim. (River Pool photo)

The date and time of the mile-plus swim are selected months in advance based on the projected tidal cycles of the river, explained Antony Tseng, president of the board of the River Pool at Beacon, which organizes the event. Any changes in timing will be posted at riverpool.org. The rain date is Aug. 13.

Around 50 volunteer kayakers will escort the swimmers across the Hudson, and the Dutchess and Orange County sheriffs’ marine units will be on the water, as well. Mobile life support services and Beacon Volunteer Ambulance Corps will be on call on both shores.

The swim, which takes the fastest swimmers 20 to 30 minutes, is a fundraiser for the River Pool, a Pete Seeger-inspired project that is now in its 11th year but still without a long-term home.

More River Swims

Saturday, Aug. 19
Rose Pitonof Swim (17 miles)
East River to Coney Island
urbanswim.org

Monday, Sept. 11
Liberty to Freedom Swim (2.2 miles)
Statue of Liberty to South Cove
urbanswim.org

Saturday, Sept. 16
Triple Dip (1, 2 or 3 miles)
Coney Island  |  cibbows.org

Sunday, Sept. 17
Sputyen Duyvil 10K
Yonkers to Manhattan
nyopenwater.org

Saturday, Sept. 23
Breezy Point 5K
Coney Island  |  cibbows.org

Saturday, Nov. 11
Veterans’ Day Swim (1, 2 or 3 miles)
Coney Island  |  cibbows.org

The River Pool board inquired several years ago about moving its 20-foot fiberglass pool to deeper water near Long Dock Park, but Scenic Hudson, which owns and manages the park, declined. The pool’s request came up again last fall, when Scenic Hudson asked the Beacon Planning Board for approval to expand and upgrade Long Dock.

Several Planning Board members argued that Long Dock would be an appropriate location for the pool, while Scenic Hudson officials said they had considered the request but could not take on the liability.

The Beacon River Pool (Photo by Harry Knoll/WDST)

Tseng said on July 31 that the pool has had more than 200 swimmers so far in the 2017 season, which began on July 1. More than 1,000 people use the free pool each year, according to board members.

The pool sits in 4- to 5-foot-deep water at Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park. But the search for deeper water, where a larger, more functional pool could be used, may require a move away from Beacon, the hometown of Seeger, a lifelong environmental advocate who championed access to the Hudson.

The course (Click to enlarge (River Pool photo)

“We’d like to either open another pool or replace the pool we have now,” Tseng said, “but it depends on how deep we can go and then the access to that location. It’s not just about popping a pool into deeper waters — it’s how people will get there.”

A depth of about 15 feet would be more suitable, he said.