‘It’s not just about swimming’: Trumbull club takes on Swim Across the Sound

Members of the Trumbull Pisces swim team train for the SWIM Across the Sound, which will take place Aug. 6, 2022.  From left to right: Oleksander Kyy,  Aaron Dressler,  Chasse Reynolds,  Keira Citarella,  Alexis Abellard,  Abby Adams,  Anisha Kurup,  Coach Bill Strickland,  Coach Liz Soelzel, and Coach Jess Daigle. Not pictured:  Samara McGlynn and Coach Norah Hampford.

Members of the Trumbull Pisces swim team train for the SWIM Across the Sound, which will take place Aug. 6, 2022.  From left to right: Oleksander Kyy,  Aaron Dressler,  Chasse Reynolds,  Keira Citarella,  Alexis Abellard,  Abby Adams,  Anisha Kurup,  Coach Bill Strickland,  Coach Liz Soelzel, and Coach Jess Daigle. Not pictured:  Samara McGlynn and Coach Norah Hampford.

Contributed

TRUMBULL — Keira Citarella is a little worried about jellyfish.

The 14-year-old, who will be a sophomore at Trumbull High School in the fall, is about to embark on her first ever St. Vincent’s Swim Across the Sound with other members of the Trumbull Pisces swim club. It’s been 10 years since the club began participating in the swim, in which people from across Connecticut and beyond swim across Long Island Sound to raise money and awareness for those battling cancer.

Citarella said she’s watched older swimmers participate in the event — which will take place Aug. 6 — and has always wanted to participate.

“I really like the cause we’re swimming for,” she said. “I think it’s really important to support those with cancer. I thought it was so fun and a really good experience to try out for myself.”

But Citarella is a little concerned about some of the war stories she’s heard from her fellow swimmers. “I’ve heard a lot of stories about jellyfish and different bugs in the water,” she said.

She is one of eight kids from Trumbull Pisces who will compete in the swim this year. Sponsored by St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, the event is now in its 35th year. Participants swim a total of 15.5 miles from Port Jefferson, N.Y., to Captain’s Cove Seaport in Bridgeport.

Last year’s event raised about $250,000 to support oncology programs and provide financial assistance to cancer patients and their families, according to St. Vincent’s.

Trumbull Pisces head coach Bill Strickland said he swam in the fundraiser before he even started coaching the Pisces, and thought it would be a fun and meaningful event for them.

“We’ve had a few members of our team who have had cancer, or have loved ones with cancer,” he said. “It hit close to home for us to help other families and people in the surrounding area.”

This year, the event is particularly personal for the group as a former Pisces, Lachezer Aleksandrov, 20, was diagnosed with lymphoma this year. The whole team is swimming in his honor, Strickland said.

The club will have two teams in the event — named Pisces Pride and Pisces Strong. Both teams will have four kids and two coaches and each team will have its own boat.

The Pisces teams will do the event as a relay, with one swimmer on each team starting the race in Port Jefferson. Swimmers will swim shifts 15 to 30 minutes, then switch off to the next team member.

The team is doing a few training runs at Gulf Beach in Milford, swimming about a mile and a half each time, to prepare for the event.

Abby Adams, 16, is doing her second Swim Across the Sound this year. She said the event is a way to do something she loves while also benefiting others.

“Everyone who’s doing this swim has a purpose for it,” Adams said. “It’s not just about swimming.”

For more information on Swim Across the Sound, visit https://swimacrossthesound.org/swimmarathon. To sponsor the Trumbull teams, visit their team pages at https://charity.pledgeit.org/t/K61t7tQutq and https://charity.pledgeit.org/t/IWzjZwMmvq.