Sunday, June 23, top swimmers from around the country competed in the 21st
annual Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, a 28.5 mile open water event through
the East, Harlem and Hudson rivers. Among those competing was a relay team
composed of Holy Cross alumni Michael Toner '63, Bob Somma '66,
Michele Intermont '89, Patrick Dietz '66, Frank Bongiorno '65 and Leonard
Conti '60. Toner, who coordinated the team, explains that this adventure was
three years in the making; he credits the College's swim coach, Barry
Parenteau, with encouraging the team, and providing participants with Holy
Cross T-shirts and bathing caps. And that was just the beginning of Crusader
support. Escort boat fees were donated by Joe Hegenbart '65 and Phil
Dunne '63 and the Holy Cross Club of Long Island. Jack McManus '60 donated
the kayak fee. Pete Lilly '60 pitched in for supplies.
In a tribute to alumni killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, members
of the team wore the name of a lost alumnus/a on their bathing caps. Toner,
who lost two members of his extended family on Sept. 11, swam in tribute
to Todd Isaac '94 and Neilie Heffernan Casey '90.
Somma swam in honor of Ted Brennan '86; Intermont in honor of Tom
Burke '85; Conti in honor of John Farrell '91; Bongiorno
in honor of John Ryan '78. Dietz swam in honor of Beth Quigley '97,
with whom Dietz's daughter, Kate Lambert '97, spent her
junior year abroad, in Spain.
Two nights before the marathon, the team received a memorable send-off
when Chris Matthews '67 sent best wishes on his MSNBC talk
show, Hardball. The race began at 6:20 a.m. Alumni and family members
lined the waterways and manned tour boats to cheer on the team. The final
swimmer crossed the South Cove finish line to mark the team's time
at 8 hours, 48 minutes and 28 seconds. The Holy Cross team placed third
in the six-person relay division.
These rivers, says Toner, will never look the same.