CLEARWATER, Fla. — Carli Taymans feels at home in the water.

“It’s just something I love to do,” she said before sliding on her white swim cap with the blue Tampa Bay Aquatic Club logo on the side. “I’ve been doing it for so long.”

The high school junior swims for her school's team. She took up the sport at the age of three and was competing two years later.

Lately, her favorite event has been one that has become close to her family’s heart.

“Not only do I get to watch Carli swim but we also are doing it for a great cause,” her mother Jill said.

This Saturday, Carli will swim in the 8th Annual Swim Across America - Tampa Bay swim. Carli will go one mile in the open water after raising money for cancer research. The event website says it “is not a competition, but an enjoyable fundraising event for everyone!”

This year, Carli has raised $1,600 for her swim. That money will go toward swim beneficiaries, Moffitt Cancer Center and Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital.

“I’ve definitely put more a lot work into it this year because of what happened to my mom,” she said.

Carli had no idea her mom was getting a health screening during the 2018 event.

“Last year while Carli was swimming, I went into a tent that Moffitt Cancer Center runs at the event,” Jill explained. “There are doctors there who will do a mole check for you. One of the doctors checked me and found melanoma on my back.”

The news was relayed to Carli after she completed her swim. Thankfully, the mole on Jill’s back was removed and her health is fine heading into the 2019 swim.

“If I wouldn’t have swum it last year then we probably wouldn’t have known,” said Carli.

This year’s event takes on more meaning for the family.

Swim Across America - Tampa Bay has donated more than $1 million to Moffitt Cancer Center over the last seven years.

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