This past Saturday, 300 swimmers participated in Save The Bay’s annual Swim fundraiser, continuing a community tradition that spans more than four decades. Of the hundreds of athletes who tackled the 1.7-nautical-mile, open-water swim from Newport to Jamestown, 36 were recognized for their exceptional commitment the event, with award categories for 5-25 years of participation.

“It’s inspiring to see the long-term commitment of these remarkable swimmers,” said Save The Bay Executive Director Jonathan Stone, a 15-year Swim participant in a prepared statement. “Many have witnessed firsthand the incredible transformation of our local waters, and their support and fundraising efforts have played a crucial role in Save The Bay’s ability to continue to protect and improve Narragansett Bay.”

“My first Swim was in 1989,” said Jana Hesser, age 75, who was recognized for the completion of her 15th Swim on Saturday in the statement. “We had rowboats instead of kayaks. I still have my little medal. It’s grown a lot since then and every year it’s better. The water is gorgeous. I really appreciate what Save The Bay has done.”

The awards ceremony—led by Stone and Save The Bay’s Swim Ambassador, Olympian and Rhode Island native, Elizabeth Beisel—acknowledged swimmers who have supported the event for 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years.

Twenty-five-year participants included:

  • Alan Hollenbeck (Coventry)
  • Patrick O’Brien (Smithfield)

Twenty-year participants included:

  • Lawrence Fish (Boston, Mass.)
  • Neil Greenspan (Barrington)
  • Dave Judelson (Winchester, Mass.)
  • Dennis Nixon (Jamestown)

Fifteen-year participants included:

  • Jana Hesser (Providence)
  • John Roberts (Hillsborough, N.C.)
  • Kelly Kittel (Portsmouth)
  • Jonathan Stone (Providence)

Ten-year participants included:

  • Zach Arts (Warwick)
  • Barbara Bird (Jamestown)
  • Stephanie Cotsonas (Jamestown)
  • W. Cabell Grayson (Upperville, Va.)
  • Timothy Groves (Providence)
  • Dean Jennings (Jamestown)
  • John Long (Warwick)
  • Cristina Mitchell (Providence)
  • Andrea Doyle O’Conner (East Greenwich)
  • Dana Reed (Portsmouth)
  • Tricia Sarvia (West Warwick)
  • Kevin Shea (Westport, Mass.)

Five-year participants included:

  • Kevin Klitz (North Scituate)
  • Boris Bally (Barrington)
  • Marc Braunstein (Newport)
  • Rachel Busch (East Greenwich)
  • Patrick Daniels (Baltimore, Md.)
  • Paul LaViolette (Wellesley, Mass.)
  • Amanda Howland (Bridgewater, Mass.)
  • Timothy Long (Framingham, Mass.)
  • Sheila Martin (Charlestown)
  • Christopher Monoson (Somerset, Mass.)
  • Deb Nelson (Lakeville, Mass.)
  • John Serdakowski (Arlington, Va.)
  • Brian Sweenor (Wakefield)
  • James Verinis (South Kingstown)

Individuals interested in donating to this year’s Swim to help Save The Bay meet the “Fish Challenge” can do so by visiting

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. Although not the founder or original owner, Belmore has been with What'sUpNewp since its early beginnings in 2012.

Belmore was born in Providence, Rhode Island; grew up and graduated high school in Coventry, Rhode Island; and lived in Newport, Rhode Island for more than ten years. He currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals.

He and his wife, Jen, as well as their two dogs (Aero and June), recently moved to Alexandria, Virginia. Belmore travels back and forth to Newport every couple of weeks to cover events, work on story ideas, to meet with What'sUpNewp's on-the-ground contributors, to visit friends, and to eat as much seafood as possible.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.