Finding a Lifeline in the Swim Across America Community

Dalton Sousa
Swim Across America – Boston
Hometown: Carver, MA
5 years supporting Swim Across America
Age: 23

Dalton Sousa is no stranger to swimming or Swim Across America. He is a long-time supporter of Team Roethke at Swim Across America – Nantucket and swam with the Roger Williams University swim team at Swim Across America – Rhode Island.

“The mission to ‘End Cancer’ is something I have felt connected to for years. My hometown and many of my closest friends have been personally affected by cancer. I remember crying in class after hearing that one of my friends and classmates had passed away from cancer in 2015. He fought bravely at Dana-Farber Medical Center.”

It wasn’t until this year that he had an even more personal reason to dive in. In January 2023, Dalton’s mother, Toni, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

“Now, Swim Across America is so much more than just a worthy cause for me. It has become a lifeline, a community of friends and family, who have rallied around a similar goal to end cancer.”

Dalton set out to raise funds in honor of his mom, who is being treated at Beth Israel Hospital-Plymouth. He created Team Sousa in January and in a few weeks, they raised over $11,000.

Toni’s spirits are high and it’s clear this tight-knit family is in the fight together and keeping a positive outlook.

“My mom has been one of the biggest influences on my life that has allowed me to be as successful as I have been. Swimming has been a huge part of my life. Whether it was as a swim parent, a New England official, or a fan my mom always tried to support everyone. She taught me to make the best out of difficult situations.”

Swim Across America has raised $100 million since its inception in 1987 to support cancer research and clinical trials across the U.S. Please contact Jeni Howard at for media inquiries.


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Community service is one of the best ways for college swim programs to build team chemistry and goodwill with their university. In 2018, more than 30 college programs volunteered their time by participating in a Swim Across America charity swim.

Swim Across America’s slogan is #MakingWavesToFightCancer and it does so by hosting open water charity swims. Since it’s founding in 1987, SAAs charity swim program has granted over $80 million to its mission of funding cancer research and clinical trials.

“364 days a year we compete with each other,” said Providence College head coach John O’Neill at the Swim Across America—Rhode Island charity swim. “But today, we all wear the same swim cap. We’ve all been touched by cancer and we swim in honor of survivors and those we’ve lost so that others may have hope.” John was awarded the College Swim Coaches Association of America community service award in 2016 for his support of Swim Across America.

The college programs that participated and volunteered at an SAA charity swim include Assumption College, Boston University, Bryant University, Brown University, Cal Catawba College, College of Holy Cross, Colorado School of Mines, East Carolina University, Emory, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Loyola University, Maryville University, McKendree University, Northeastern University, Penn State, Providence College, Queens University, Roger Williams University, Seattle University, SMU, St. Louis University, TCU, Truman State, Tufts University, University of California, University of Connecticut, University of Georgia, University of Idaho, University of Illinois-Chicago, University of Missouri, University of Missouri – St. Louis, University of North Texas, University of Texas, Ursuline College, Villanova and Wesleyan University.

The 2019 Swim Across America calendar will include charity swims in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charleston-Kiawah, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Denver, Fairfield County (CT), Houston, Long Island, Nantucket, Nassau (NY), Richmond, Rhode Island, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis and Tampa.

Olympian Craig Beardsley heads up Swim Across America’s college program. He can be reached at to learn more.