Due to the catastrophic hit that the Florida Keys took from Hurricane Irma, “The Swim for Alligator Lighthouse / GSS North American Championships” has been cancelled.

In speaking with the Race Director and the Team from Alligator Lighthouse, we have learned a few things and how you could help:

  1. normally they don’t issue refunds, but they are in this instance.  This is meant to help the locals that have lost everything and could use that entry fee back.  If you are not directly effected by the storm, they are asking that you kindly don’t apply for refund and consider that as a donation.  They are still working on how best to use the funds.
  2. Many of you have asked how you can help. Our first priority is the Florida Keys. And we’re certain plenty of nonprofits are raising money to assist in these areas. Our next priority is the 2018 Swim. We’ve created this link to help our organization get through next year – so we can plan an amazing Swim for Alligator Lighthouse and carry out the mission of Friends of the Pool. This isn’t a priority at this point in time. However, If you’re a fan of our swim, you are welcome to help us balance out these refunds by an additional donation through accessing this link – only because many of you have asked how you can help the Swim for Alligator Lighthouse.
  3. also, if you are a Race Director of another GSS swim, we would kindly ask that you consider giving a discount to your race for the swimmers that had this race cancelled on them.  Not mandatory, but a nice thing to do to help people try to start to get their lives back together.
  4. for further information about any of these topics please contact the team at: [email protected]

And in case you were wondering about the lighthouse, here is a story in the media:

Standing defiantly in the distance off Islamorada is a century-old lighthouse that has survived much more than the wimpy winds of Hurricane Irma.

The Alligator Lighthouse was built in 1873, before Miami even existed. The name honors a pirate-fighting schooner that sank there in 1822 and was blown up so brigands couldn’t use it. The lighthouse is in the midst of a $2 million rehab that is partially funded by an annual swim that has been canceled, coordinators said yesterday.

About 400 people from all over the world had planned to head to Islamorada/Lower Matecumbe Key for the nine-mile swim, which was celebrating its fifth year. They would have come from as far away as Australia and England, says Betsy Keteltas, an organizer of the event.

“There is so much debris in the water that it is not safe for boats, let alone swimmers,” she says. “We are asking swimmers to donate their entry fees, and almost everyone has.”

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