Making Waves with Hope: “Uncertainty and Adversity” with Craig Beardsley and Rowdy Gaines

Hope Header2Making Waves with Hope is a series of inspiring messages by leaders in the Swim Across America community. Olympians Rowdy Gaines and Craig Beardsley had earned their spots on the 1980 USA Olympic Team when uncertainty struck. The US boycotted the 1980 Olympics and in an instant, the dreams of both—and hundreds of others—were washed away. Fast forward three decades to the postponement of the 2020 Olympics. Rowdy and Craig offer their wisdom to dealing with uncertain moments. Rowdy and Craig were guests on “Pitch The Rhino” podcast. Give it a listen here: bit.ly/PTRPodcastCR.

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Craig Beardsley on Recovering From What You Can’t Control:

“One of the things that I learned from what happened in 1980, and this is a life lesson for me, was that I did everything I was supposed to do getting ready for ‘80, and then things changed. And I learned that sometimes you can do everything you’re supposed to do but sometimes things are just out of your control. That happens in life. And when that happens you have to just learn how to recover from that and move forward.”

Rowdy Gaines on Current Athletes Finding Motivation Despite Postponements:  

“The most important thing is our health and wellbeing. So, these decisions that came down were the right decisions, it doesn’t make it any easier. It’s just like in 1980, at the time I felt like, ‘Okay I’m going to support my country’ and it felt like the boycott was the best way to answer the Russians that had invaded Afghanistan, but I didn’t like it. It still was devastating. It still hurt me. And I think that it’s okay to be vulnerable right now. I think it’s okay for these athletes to feel anger, the emotions of going through denial first, and then anger, and then sadness and depression, and then acceptance. And sooner or later you’re going to have that acceptance and be able to move on. And it will make you stronger, it will, I guarantee you at the very best it will make them stronger, because in the end, after acceptance for me, was motivation.”

Craig Beardsley on Being Your Best and Obstacles:

When they announced the boycott, I wasn’t the world record holder at the time, I still had something to prove to myself more than anybody else that I could be the best. So I didn’t allow that to derail me as much as maybe some of the other people. I just felt compelled that I still had to prove something, to everybody and myself that I could be the best, and that I trained for that, and I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way of being the best at this point.”

Craig Beardsley’s Advice on Training and Focus:

“Something that I learned directly from experience is if you’re training and all you’re doing is training, try to have something else in your life that you can focus on. And not just fun stuff, but something that you actually have to focus on that you can remove yourself from the sport because it will help you and it will give you room to breathe, and you’ll look at the sport with fresh eyes instead of getting burned out by it.”

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BIOS

Craig Beardsley was heavily favored to win the 200m butterfly as a member of the 1980 Olympic Team, only to be forced from competition when politics intervened, and the US boycotted Moscow’s Summer Games. Between 1980 and 1983, Craig held both the World and the American Records in the 200m butterfly, and he won Gold at the Pan American Games in both 1979 and 1983. A nine-time US National Champion, Craig captured another Gold in the same event at the NCAA Championships while an All-American at the University of Florida. Beardsley is currently the Swim Across America Director of Partnerships. 

“Rowdy” Gaines  held 11 World Records during a four-year span in the 1980s. At the age of 25, Gaines won three Gold Medals in the 1984 Games in L.A., including the 100m free in which he set a new Olympic Record, .45 seconds shy of his own World Record. Rowdy also swam on the Gold-Medal winning 400m free and 400m medley relays, both which set World Records. In 1984, he was named World Swimmer of the Year. During his education at Auburn, Rowdy was a five-time NCAA All-American and honored as the Southeastern Conference Athlete of the Year. In 1996, Gaines became NBC’s Olympic Games Swimming Commentator, filling that role in all Olympics and major competitions since. Gaines has also been an Olympic Ambassador from Swim Across America since our organization’s inaugural swim in 1987.

The Best of Swim Across America Olympians (2019)

We appreciate the support of all the Olympians and special guests who have donated their time to support the SAA cause in 2019. These Olympians have attended our swims and special events generating awareness and raising donations for our beneficiaries. Thanks for all you do for SAA!

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – HOUSTON

Camille Adams, Ricky Berens

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SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – Fairfield County

Cristina Teuscher and Craig Beardsley

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SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – BOSTON

Eric Wunderlich, Alex Meyer and Janel Jorgensen McArdle

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SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – DETROIT

Peter Vanderkaay and Chris Thompson

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SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – CHARLESTON-KIAWAH

Hannah Aspden, Steve Gregg and Jenny Thompson

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – CHICAGO

Tom Beeri, Dave Sims, Kat Simonovic and Sebastian Rousseau

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SAA – LONG ISLAND SOUND

Cristina Teuscher and Katie Meili

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SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – ST. LOUIS

Ryan Berube, Ryan Held and Mallory Comerford

 

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – DENVER

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    George DiCarlo, Haley Anderson, Kara Lynn Joyce, Lindsey Mintenko, Missy Franklin, Scott Usher, Susan von der Lippe

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – NANTUCKET

Craig Beardsley

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SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – RHODE ISLAND

Elizabeth Beisel

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SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – SEATTLE

Nathan Adrian, Mary Wayte Bradburne, Emily Silver

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – BALTIMORE

Theresa Andrews, McClain Hermes, Brenda Borgh Bartlett

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – SAN FRANCISCO

Heather Petri, Dana Kirk, Ericka Lorenz, Kristy Kowal, Susan Heon-Preston, Staciana Stitts Winfield, Mike Bruner, John Moffet, Nicolle Payne,  Rada Owen, Ashley Whitney and Christine Magnuson

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – CHARLOTTE

Lauren Perdue, Hannah Aspden, Karlee Bispo, Madison Kennedy

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – ATLANTA

Missy Franklin, McClain Hermes, Steve Lundquist, Maritza Correia McClendon, Megan Neyer, Amanda Weir, Peter Wright, Nei-Kuan Chia,  Eric Wunderlich, Neil Versfeld, Andrew Gammell, Camille Adams, Paige Northcutt

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – DALLAS

Ryan Berube, Andrea Hayes Dickson and Jim Montgomery

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – SMAC OUT CANCER POOL SWIM

Susan Heon-Preston, Kristy Kowal and Mike Bruner

MICHAEL PHELPS & SWIM ACROSS AMERICA CHARITY SWIM

Michael Phelps, Allison Schmidt, Craig Beardsley, Bob Bowman

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA FAMILY TREE (OCTOBER 2019)

SAA Family Tree is a monthly focus on stories that display the impact all the members of the Swim Across America family have both locally and nationally. If you have a story or link you’d like to share, please send here.

 

Swim Across America

Learn how to Swim to Save a Life. This Charity Raised Nearly $100 million to Directly Fund Therapies to Defeat Cancer. A Conversation with Swim Across America’s Rob Butcher and Board Chair Pam Ryan from Goldman Sachs

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SAA – Richmond

  • SAA-Richmond Event Director Jay Peluso and Dr. Santiago Lima of VCU Massey Cancer Center promoted the swim on WTVR

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SAA – Atlanta

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SAA – Denver

  • Swim Across America CEO Rob Butcher and Team Captain Patty Waldron appeared on FOX 46

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SAA – San Francisco Bay

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SAA – Baltimore

  • With yearly swim, Mt. Hebron High junior raises money for cancer research at Magothy River event (Baltimore Sun)

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  • Dr. Jonathan Webster of Johns Hopkins and Patient Ambassador Vanessa Brandon promoted Swim Across America on Midday Maryland

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SAA – Dallas

  • North Texas Swimmers Raise Money for Local Cancer Research (NBC DFW)Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 10.23.08 AM

 

  • Lake Ray Hubbard swim event helps raise money for cancer research (FOX 4 DFW)

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SAA – St. Louis

  • Swim Across America CEO Rob Butcher and champion swimmer Mallory Comerford promoted the upcoming swim on FOX 2!

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SAA – Catalina Relay Team

  • The six relay swimmers representing SAA crushed their 54-mile relay swim this September! It only took them 28 hours and they are now the 11th team EVER to complete this swim around Catalina Island! Not to mention they have raised over $60,000!

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SAA – Rhode Island

  • A Special Message on behalf of SAA -Rhode Island from Olympian Elizabeth Beisel and Providence College Coach John O’Neill

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SAA FAMILY TREE (JULY 2019)

SAA Family Tree is a monthly focus on stories that display the impact all the members of the Swim Across America family have both locally and nationally. If you have a story or link you’d like to share, please send here.

 

SAA – Baltimore

SAA – Denver

SAA – Boston

SAA – Nantucket

  • Celebrate Our Impact event at Nantucket Cottage Hospital

    SAA – Fairfield County

    • Greenwich shows support for Swim Across America Fairfield County (Greenwich Time)

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SAA FAMILY TREE (MAY 2019)

SAA Family Tree is a monthly focus on stories that display the impact all the members of the Swim Across America family have both locally and nationally. If you have a story or link you’d like to share, please send here.

 

SAA – Baltimore

SAA – St. Louis

SAA – Houston

SAA – Atlanta

 

 

SAA FAMILY TREE (OCTOBER 2018)

SAA Family Tree is a monthly focus on stories that display the impact all the members of the Swim Across America family have both locally and nationally. If you have a story or link you’d like to share, please send here.

 

SAA – Charleston-Kiawah

  • Event Director Brad Johnson promoted our 2nd annual swim on Kiawah Island Golf Resort.

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SAA – Seattle

SAA – Atlanta

  • This 11Alive Recap of the Atlanta swim and ‘Amazing’ Grace Bunke’s legacy at the swim is a fitting tribute: “Hope has no finish line.”Screen Shot 2018-10-17 at 2.30.26 PM

SAA – Baltimore

SAA – Charlotte

  • SAA CEO Rob Butcher donned the wetsuit on WCCB News Rising.Screen Shot 2018-10-17 at 2.22.01 PM
  • SAA Director of Marketing Ryan Baucom and Dr. Edward Copelan of Levine Cancer Institute talked all things SAA on Charlotte Today.38280536_2204571959556269_4391243862727720960_n

SAA – Richmond

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The Best of Swim Across America Olympians (2018)

We appreciate the support of all the Olympians who have donated their time to support the SAA cause in 2018. These Olympians have attended our swims and special events generating awareness and raising donations for our beneficiaries. Thanks for all you do for SAA!

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – TAMPA

Charlie Houchin, Eric Wunderlich, Steve Lindquist

 

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – GREENWICH-STAMFORD

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Charlie Houchin, Cristina Teuscher and Craig Beardsley at SAA – Greenwich-Stamford

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – BOSTON

Doug Gjertsen, Erik Vendt, Klete Keller, Eric Wunderlich, Alex Meyer, Craig Beardsley and Janel Jorgensen McArdle

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – CHARLESTON-KIAWAH

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – CHICAGO

Charlie Houchin and Sebastian Rousseau

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SAA – LONG ISLAND SOUND (POOL SWIM)

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Cristina Teuscher and Long Island Sound swimmers

SAA – SOUND TO COVE

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Olympians Craig Beardsley and Steve Lundquist with the SAA – Nassau Suffolk team

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – ST. LOUIS

Ryan Berube, Ryan Held and Mark Gangloff

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – DENVER

Missy Franklin, Elizabeth Beisel, George DiCarlo, Susan Bartholomew-Williams, Susan von der Lippe, Lindsay Benko Mintenko, Mike Mintenko, Andrew Gemmell, Heather Petri, Kara Lynn Joyce, Brickelle Bro, Mara Abbott, Klete Keller, Ashley Whitney, Katie Huff and Doug Gjertsen

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – RHODE ISLAND

Elizabeth Beisel, Craig Beardsley, Janel Jorgensen McArdle and Clara Walker

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – SEATTLE

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Mary Wayte Bradburne with some Kids Splash swimmers

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – SAN FRANCISCO

Heather Petri, Dana Kirk, Ericka Lorenz, Susan Heon-Preston, Cathy Carr West, Staciana Stitts Winfield, Mike Bruner, Jessica Steffens, Annika Dries, Mark Henderson, Rada Owen, Mike Kiedel, Brikelle Bro, and Christine Magnuson

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – CHARLOTTE

Charlie Houchin, Lauren Perdue, Hannah Aspden, Marko Blazevski, Tharon Drake and Karlee Bispo

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – ATLANTA

Missy Franklin, Geoff Gaberino, Doug Gjertsen, Bobby Hackett, McClain Hermes, Katie Hoff, Kara Lynn Joyce, Kristy Kowal, Steve Lundquist, Maritza Correia McClendon, Megan Neyer, Amanda Weir, Ashley Whitney, Peter Wright, Nei-Kuan Chia, Ramon Valle, Hali Flickinger and Shannon Vreeland.

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – DALLAS

Dana Vollmer, Ryan Berube, Charlie Houchin and Jim Montgomery

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – SMAC OUT CANCER POOL SWIM

Susan Heon-Preston, Craig Beardsley and Mike Bruner

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SAA FAMILY TREE (JUNE 2018)

SAA Family Tree is a monthly focus on stories that display the impact all the members of the Swim Across America family have both locally and nationally. If you have a story or link you’d like to share, please send here.

SAA – Atlanta

SAA – Denver

  • The inaugural event gets primetime coverage with Event Director Nicole Vanderpoel on 9 NEWS

SAA – Baltimore

SAA – Boston

  • Board Member Pam Ryan is featured for her participation with Olympians in the upcoming Boston Harbor Swim!

 

SAA CELEBRATES RECORD-BREAKING YEAR IN ORLANDO

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Members of the Swim Across America family came together in Orlando at Rosen Plaza for the Champions Against Cancer Summit this October 11-13.

Board Members, Event Directors, Olympians and Oncologists joined the national SAA staff to celebrate a record-breaking 2017 and the $3 million charitable contribution to SAA from Merck.

CHAMPIONS AGAINST CANCER WELCOME RECEPTION

See how many faces you recognize in this fun collection from the reception.

CHAMPIONS AGAINST CANCER SUMMIT

We were honored to have some of the country’s leading oncologists speak as well as plenty of SAA leaders. You can see some of the excitement from the Merck announcement in this album.

Thursday morning presenters included Dr. Taha Mexghoub (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center), Dr. Paul DiSilvestro (Women & Infants Hospital), Dr. Jeff Borgia (Rush University Medical Center), Dr. Lynda Vrooman (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute)

The surprise Merck charitable contribution was celebrated by special Olympian guests Rowdy Gaines, Steve Lundquist, Janel Jorgensen McArdle, Heather Petri, Ryan Berube, Eric Wunderlich, George DiCarlo and Craig Beardsley

The afternoon session featured Dr. Carlos Becerra (Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Dallas), Polona Safaric (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory), Dr. Julie Saba, (UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco), Dr. Marc Symons (Feinstein Institute of North Shore) and Dr. Jonathan Gerber (Levine Cancer Institute of Carolinas Healthcare System).

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Friday presenters included Dr. Jim Garvin (New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center), Dr. Douglas K. Graham (Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Children and Emory University), Dr. Shari Pilon-Thomas (Moffitt Cancer Center), Dr. Damon Reed (Moffitt Cancer Center) and Dr. Richard Garlic (University of Texas MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital).

SAA FAMILY TREE (2017 RECAP)

SAA Family Tree is a monthly focus on stories that display the impact all the members of the Swim Across America family have both locally and nationally. If you have a story or link you’d like to share, please send here.

SAA – Atlanta

SAA – Charlotte

  • Spectrum News had all the video highlights of the inaugural SAA-Charlotte featuring Levine Cancer Institute’s Dr. Jonathan Gerber and Queens University swimmer and cancer survivor Alex Marshall.
  • Patty Waldron and her team of Masters Swimmers go ‘out of the box’ to raise money for Levine Cancer Center.

SAA – San Francisco Bay Area

  • 3-year old Seth Lurie is battling rhabdomyosarcoma. Seth and his dad came to SAA – San Francisco and this is what he thinks of cancer.

SAA – Baltimore

  • Emma and Sammy Rocks of Team Rock On joined Wyatt Eberhart on Midday Maryland!

 

SAA – St. Louis

  • John Traube was the top fundraiser with over $26K raised for SAA – St. Louis. Find out why his story is such an inspiration to us at SAA!

SAA – Rhode Island

  • Olympian Elizabeth Beisel joined the Rhode Island swim this year and made a big splash with all the college swimmers and hospital patients alike!

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SAA – Dallas

SAA – Seattle

  • Another big splash for SAA – Seattle as featured by Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.