Ron Collins not only talks the talk, he walks the walk.

Collins is a waterman through and through. He is always around the ocean, relentlessly energetic as an athlete, race director, open water swimming pod coordinator, promoter and enthusiasm extraordinaire. He founded the 24 Mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim 16 years ago and will host the 16th annual race on April 20th. 17 solo swimmers and 3 relay teams will compete for honors while swimming the entire length of Tampa Bay in western Florida.

The races starts from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and extends to the Ben T. Davis Beach on the West Courtney Campbell Causeway across Tampa Bay. The event is held each year to celebrate Earth Day and the revitalization of Florida’s largest estuary.

The swimmers entered in this year’s event include the following:

* Chris Burke, 50 from St. Petersburg, Florida
* Gene Kennedy, 53 from Charlotte, North Carolina
* Sergio Salamone, 45 from Buenos Aires, Argentina
* Mark Smitherman, 55 from Clearwater, Florida
* Dan Richards, 56 from Arlington, Tennessee
* Thomas Tarantola, 18 from Flagler Beach, Florida
* Thomas Bell, 44 from Wyomissing, Pennsylvania
* Lori King, 37 from Rockville Centre, New York
* Pat Marzulli, 64 from Indian Rocks Beach, Florida
* Michael Miller, 53 from Charlotte, North Carolina
* Bethany Bosch, 28 from Wallingford, Vermont
* Yuta Tsuboi, 40 from New York, New York
* Ann von Spiegelfeld, 51 from Tampa, Florida
* Hadar Aviram, 38 from San Francisco, California
* Carl Selles, 66 from Aurora, Colorado
* Bart Cobb, 57 from Tampa, Florida
* Matthew Thomas, 35 from Clearwater, Florida

The relays include the following teams:

* NC State of Mind with Patrick Woodruff (29), Kelly Woodruff (27), Mary Robbins (28), Greg Sanchez (55), Jack Roney (25)
* The Dirty Half Dozen with Patty Hermann (53), Kimberly Hermann (23), Ted Gregory (75), Mike Tyson (46), Richard Schoenborn (55), and Kelly Gentry (26)
* Aqua Fury with Erin O’Leary (31), Brian Lanahan (37), and Lesley Fanning (44)

For more information, visit www.distancematters.com.

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