Swim to Oxford Ferry highlights clean water

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan Michael Keene, left, joined Herve Hamon at Cambridge’s marina as the men prepared to swim to Oxford on Sunday to demonstrate the cleanliness of the Choptank River.

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
Michael Keene, left, joined Herve Hamon at Cambridge’s marina as the men prepared to swim to Oxford on Sunday to demonstrate the cleanliness of the Choptank River.

CAMBRIDGE — Herve Hamon and Michael Keene want you to know that the Choptank River’s water is clean and healthy. But actions speak louder than words, so the men did something to demonstrate how safe the river is.

On Sunday, the pair hopped off the floating dock at the city’s marina at about 10:50 a.m., setting out on an 11-mile swim to the Oxford Ferry.
“It’s great to know the water is being tested and the bacteria levels are under control,” Mr. Hamon said as he walked down the dock.
The event took place in cooperation with ShoreRivers.

“ShoreRivers protects and restores Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration and education,” a statement on the group’s social media page says. “We work collaboratively with out communities, yet maintain an uncompromising voice for clean rivers and the living resources they support.”

Mr. Keene said Sunday, “We’re giving recognition to the good work they’re doing.”

Both athletes are members of Cambridge Multi-Sport Club (CMS), a group that focuses on running, swimming and biking — and the occasional environmental challenge.

“I like doing marathon swims for fundraisers,” Mr. Hamon said.

That experience put him in good shape for Sunday’s swim, while there was a bit of an unknown element for Mr. Keene, who had swum no farther than about three miles in the past.

They didn’t do it on a whim, though. “It does take a lot of planning,” Mr. Keene said.

George Vojtech’s boat “Delphinus” followed the men all day, to ensure their safety. The swimmers also had packed food and drinks to consume along the way, to remain hydrated and keep the calories coming.

“Every half hour,” Mr. Keene said with a laugh. “It’s a big, wet picnic.”

The swim ended in Oxford in the early evening, when Mr. Hamon reached the Talbot shore about 6:30 p.m., with Mr. Keene about 30 minutes behind him.

ShoreRivers has been monitoring nearby rivers for harmful bacteria. “In addition to the 15 existing sites being monitored on the Chester and Sassafras Rivers, ShoreRivers has added four new monitoring sites on the Choptank, Miles and Wye Rivers,” the group’s website says.

“The strain of bacteria sampled, Enterococci, indicates pathogens that may cause human illness,” the site continued. “This bacteria can oriniate from a variety of sources, including failing septic systems, sewer overflows or leaks, poultry, livestock and pet waste.”

Recent samples from the Choptank indicate that levels are in the river are at acceptable levels, the group said.

To learn more about ShoreRivers, visit www.shorerivers.org.

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at dryan@newszap.com.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment