Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Swim Record Hopefuls Relay Message

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Swim Record Hopefuls Relay Message

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Woods

Dustin Van Antwerp, a 36-year-old mother of two, plans to drive across town in the wee hours of the morning, get in a pool, swim for less than a minute and get out.


The lure of trying to set a world record with an Olympic champion -- and the goal of making Jacksonville a better place to swim.

Van Antwerp will swim on a relay team with her husband, her 11-year-old son, three-time Olympic gold medalist Nancy Hogshead-Makar, 83-year-old Tiger Holmes, Judge Charlie Cofer, some very fast University of Florida swimmers, some very slow recreational swimmers, swimmers doing the butterfly, swimmers doing the dog paddle, swimmers in Speedos, swimmers in baggy surfing shorts . . .

As you've probably guessed, this isn't your typical relay with four swimmers and a goal of speed. This relay's goal is size.

Organizers hope to line up 3,000 people, each of whom would take a turn swimming one length of a 25-yard pool at Cecil Recreation Aquatics Center -- breaking the Guinness World Record of 2,456 people.

The event will begin at 5 p.m. Friday and finish at 5 p.m. Saturday. If you're interested in participating, call (904) 366-6495 or go to www.jaxparks. com. As of late last week, about 750 people had signed up.

"Nancy Hogshead's name caught my attention," said Van Antwerp, explaining why she and her husband, Donald, not only signed up for the 1 to 3 a.m. segment but pledged to find people to join them. "She was one of my idols growing up. And it's important that children, and adults, learn how to swim."

While the relay certainly has an immediate purpose -- setting the record and raising safety awareness in the month when public pools re-open -- there is more to it than that.

It is a publicity stunt, designed to renew talk about building a year-round indoor aquatics facility. …

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