Local Olympic swimmer prepares to swim for cancer research

Clearwater, Florida -- Brooke Bennett feels at home in the water. The three-time Olympic gold medalist knows what it's like to compete at the highest level.

She also knows what it's like to swim for noble cause.

"We want to keep spreading the word," she said with a smile.

Bennett spent her Saturday morning teaching kids from local TBAY swim teams tips and techniques they'll need next month out on the open waters of Clearwater Beach. Bennett will join the non-profit Swim Across America to put on a race designed to raise money to fight cancer.

"Clearwater Beach is a great location," said Bennett, who won her first gold medal in 1996 as a member of Team USA. "We have people who are not swimmers and probably swim one time a year and it's for Swim Across America."

The Tampa Bay chapter of Swim Across America has hosted these races before. In the previous two years, over $250,000 has been generated through the event. All of the money benefits people who need help locally.

"The money that we raise here in Tampa stays here. It goes to Moffitt (Cancer Center), said Bennett. "We actually get to see the results of this and I think that's what makes Swim Across America so special."

The third-annual open-water fundraising swim will take place on Saturday, May 31st at Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach. The 2014 swim is expected to host over 400 swimmers.

"Melanoma cancer is the number one killer in Florida," said event marketing director Craig Cordell. "One of the things we get to do and get to be part of is we get to know the doctors. We get to understand what the value of a dollar is from the research."

It's not just for Olympians, like Bennett. It's for anyone who wants to swim for a cause.

"We finish as a whole and that's to raise money for cancer research." Bennett said.

For more, visit www.SwimAcrossAmerica.org/TampaBay


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