Shannon Rusch and Rich Graham had a busy and exhausting weekend of swimming, running and bicycling – especially the swimming part – all to help their fellow veterans.
Rusch, of Sherrills Ford; and Orlando, Fla., resident Graham, along with Troy Pusateri of Charleston, S.C., spent most of the day Aug. 1 in the waters of Lake Norman for the second annual LKN SEAL Swim.
The three former U.S. Navy SEALs completed a 12.5-mile swim from Queen’s Landing in Mooresville to the Rusty Rudder restaurant in Cornelius. They also made a pre-swim of roughly 1.5 miles with 14 area residents from the Blue Parrot restaurant to Queen’s Landing before beginning their long swim to the Rusty Rudder.
“We had a whole range of people – from a teenager all the way to a 65-year-old man,” Rusch said.
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In all, this year’s LKN SEAL Swim raised more than $57,000 for Operation Restored Warrior, a Colorado-based organization that helps veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, combat-related stress and other psychological issues related to combat.
The money was raised through corporate sponsorships, individual donations and a silent auction.
“We raised more money this year than last year,” Graham said. “We had a lot more people there (at the Rusty Rudder) waiting for us, and we made more police and firefighters – even the Coast Guard – involved with helping us with the escorts this year despite the weather issues.
“It was good to see that this wasn’t a one-time thing, that people got behind this. They were even more supportive this year, which was great to see.”
The weather – cold and rainy for most of the day, with gusty winds giving Lake Norman a decided choppiness – made things tougher for Rusch, Graham and Pusateri, who swam in shifts over most of the route except for the pre-swim and the final 500 yards to the Rusty Rudder.
“We swam more than we did previously, even though we went farther last year,” Graham said. “We were in the water longer, and the temperature – well, it was cold out there with it raining. I didn’t come prepared, because I was expecting it to be hot.
“We were wrapping ourselves in space blankets trying to stay warm. Overall, the water was choppier, which made it harder to get into a rhythm. It was definitely a little more challenging this year.”
After Graham and Rusch swam in the LKN SEAL Swim, they traveled to New York to take part in another fundraiser Aug. 3 during the New York City Triathlon.
LNYC to host races
The Lake Norman Yacht Club will play host to a pair of major sailboat races on Lake Norman the last week of August. The club will host the San Juan 21 Eastern Nationals on Aug. 29-Sept. 1 and its own annual Labor Day Regatta on Aug. 30-31.
The Eastern Nationals are open to just San Juan 21-class sailboats, while the Labor Day Regatta is open to sailboats of all classes, including juniors, centerboards and keelboats.
The entry fee for both regattas is $40 for US Sailing members and $45 for nonmembers before Aug. 21, and $45 and $50 after Aug. 21 up to race day. www.lnyc.org, or firstname.lastname@example.org.