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On July 22, Jamestown resident Ben Tuff will swim 25 miles from Providence to Newport, in an endurance effort to raise money for Clean Ocean Access.
This marks the third marathon swim for Tuff, who has raised more than $160,000 to date for Clean Ocean Access, an Aquidneck Island-based environmental non-profit.
In August 2020, Tuff swam around Conanicut Island, a 23-mile distance he completed without a wetsuit, enduring jellyfish stings but supported by well-wishers around the island to raise $54,000.
Last year, he swam from Block Island to Jamestown, completing the 19-mile event in 9 hours and 19 minutes while facing the threats of cold water and sharks. He raised over $106,000 thanks to the generosity of friends, family and lovers of the ocean during this feat, while also becoming the first person in history to complete both achievements.
[Read more about Tuff’s 2021 swim, and the work of Clean Ocean Access, here]
This year, Tuff plans to jump in the water in south Providence and emerge at the Newport Folk Festival, according to a press release annoucning the swim . He estimates it will take him about 14 hours to complete.
Tuff trains 2 hours a day for these marathon swims, preparing for the rigors of the body and mind. “Hours 6 to 10 are the worst,” he says of the solitude. To help pass the time, Tuff thinks of “anything and everything,” including the health of the ocean and the health of friends facing challenges they cannot control, such as cancer.
According to the press release, becoming sober 10 years ago gave Tuff control over his well-being, a story covered in an upcoming documentary called “Swim Tuff: How I Swam My Way Out of the Bottle.” Tuff barely knew how to swim before he went through recovery from alcohol, and a sponsor suggested he try the sport. He says he’s not a great swimmer, but thrives on undertaking swimming feats.
“I wish that more people would just embrace trying something new later in their lives,” says Tuff in a sample of the video footage. “Because they might just surprise themselves.”