By Cyrus Gutnick
It started back in 2001 when a group of guys thought that they could swim across the Bay — and maybe make a bit of money doing it.
They did, and have continued to do so for the past seven years. This Saturday, Oct. 4, two teams of six swimmers each will crash the ocean and swim the 26 miles from Seabright Beach, Santa Cruz to Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey in what will be the eighth annual Ian W. Carney Memorial Transbay Swim: a fundraiser for the UCSC men’s and women’s swim and dive teams.
Kim Musch, head coach of both the men’s and women’s swim and dive teams, aquatics director and P.E. coach at UCSC, explained that since he began coaching 10 years ago, he has seen a necessary increase in spending of about 40 percent. This is due primarily to the increased cost of travel including van rental, hotel rooms and gasoline.
“For both men’s and women’s [teams], it is roughly about $50,000,” Musch said. “We will raise between $8,000 and $10,000 primarily from parents.”
Aside from the parental support, over the years the team has built up their alumni base and has received more support from faculty and staff on campus.
“There has never been a whole lot of money from the school,” Musch said. “We do get some matching funds from the chancellor, which really does kind of save us, but aside from the matching funds, we raise everything we get. There is a bit of student referendum money but [our funds are] essentially what we raise.”
This year the team has tried to garner more support from local businesses on both sides of the Bay.
“We are trying to get some businesses and advertising,” co-captain senior Jason Huggett said. “We tried to make a whole lot of advertising in Santa Cruz, but it didn’t make a lot of sense because we leave at five in the morning.”
In Monterey and Santa Cruz, the team has taken fliers and approached businesses, hoping to receive donations.
“We went to Cannery Row to see if [businesses] would donate,” co-captain senior Meg Crowley said. “That is where we end, it’s sort of the grand finale.”
“That’s kind of the fun thing,” Huggett said. “We accept donations all year round. A lot of our donations come retroactively. I think a majority of the donations come not before but after the swim.”
Musch admits that another difficulty in gaining support and funds from local businesses is that they are usually committed to the high-school sporting programs. Now that they offer an opportunity to be recognized on the team’s shirt, the swim team hopes to win more support from the community.
Regardless of the money they are able to raise and the local support, there is more to the event than bookkeeping.
“Early on we didn’t make a lot of money but it was a heck of an event,” Musch said. “When we get out of the water in Monterey, what [the athletes] feel, you can’t put a price tag on. When they get out with a sense of pride [in] achieving something that not many people have done, it’s a great bonding experience. It is something that has a value that goes way, way beyond what we make in the fundraising.”