PORTLAND, Maine — Jumping into Casco Bay may typically be a shock to the system, but during Saturday's sweltering conditions, the warmer than usual water temperature was a relief for athletes.
Peaks to Portland is one of the oldest open water swims in the world, according to its website. Over the years, thousands swam the 2.4 miles from Peaks Island to Portland's East End Beach. Swimmers range in fitness and age levels.
The event raised about $200,000 and all proceeds benefit children in the YMCA of Southern Maine's youth development programs. President and CEO of YMCA of Southern Maine, Helen Breña says the programs impact 10,000 children in Maine.
"This is an amazing athletic endeavor," said Breña. "I'm in awe of the swimmers, but just as important it's a fundraiser to serve kids. So I just want to make sure the community knows that the 'Y' is here for kids regardless of the ability to pay."
Breña believes there were over 1,000 participants between swimmers, kayakers, and volunteers. Hundreds of spectators braved the heat on the East End Beach to cheer on the finishers. It takes about 40 minutes for the first swimmers to make the journey across the bay and storm the beach.