Lake Hopatcong Celebrates And Supports K9

Lake Hopatcong Celebrates And Supports K9

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The Lake Hopatcong Open Water Swim Festival is an annual charity swim held in Lake Hopatcong in New Jersey in September to benefit several animal rescue and K-9 charities including the Southern Tier Police Canine Association, 11th Hour Rescue, Father John’s Animal House and the Jefferson Township Animal Pound.

Organized by race director Bridgette Hobart-Janeczko, 137 swimmers enjoyed warm water in an outstanding fall day.

We held our first 12 & Under kid’s event – 100 meters. John Sowa and Jeff Stuart volunteered to give the kids a clinic, then walk them through the start, and then swim with them through completion so all kids could finish – most their first open water experience. We were thrilled to see our future sport in action, and all finished to received doggy medals,” explained Hobart-Janeczko before she headed out to England to attempt an English Channel crossing.

Photo above shows 53-year-old Jeff Stuart from Manchester, Connecticut who won the 1-mile (24:09.3) and 2-mile (45:55.6) swims in his age division and served as a swim buddy in the kid’s race.

We had strong charity support from Southern Tier Police Canine Association with 3 dogs, and 1 (Arek) is the New Jersey police dog that our 2011 event proceeds funded. This year’s allocation to Southern Tier Police Canine Association proceeds will go towards Arek’s dental work – damages from service. 11th Hour Rescue was on site with dogs available for adoption. All K9 dogs performed on land demonstrations, and Arek wowed the crowd with his water demonstration [see above]. This has become a popular part of our event for spectators and swimmers waiting on events or awards.”

The event netted US$7,500 that will be allocated between the charities. “Since inception of this event 6 years ago, we’ve raised approximately US$55,000 towards animal rescue and K9 charities,” said Hobart-Janeczko. “We have strong volunteer support, along with strong local business sponsor support. We also have strong on water support with a kayak and lifeguard team, Coast Guard team, and on land local EMT Team. This combined with swimmer participation has made this event successful and incident-free year after year. In addition to raising funds for our charities, our mission is to provide a safe, low-key open water event where swimmers looking for their first longer distance (2 mile) or first experience can do so.

All race bags included a chocolate paw pop – homemade each year to support our paws causes. Paws is our theme

Photo above shows 47-year-old Lynn Ascione from Ramsey, New Jersey who won the 1-mile (24:09.3) and 2-mile (45:55.6) swims in her age division.

Photo above shows 54-year-old Susan Kirk from Califon, New Jersey who won the 1-mile (30:57.6) 2-mile (1:02:54.8) races in her age division.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones