Swimming a Marathon To Remember Late Resident
‘Two Y’s Guys and the Two Fast Y's Guys’ raise funds and awareness for bipolar disorder.
The “Three Y’s Guys” from the Somerset Hills YMCA became the “Two Y’s Guys and the Two Fast Y's Guys” this year, but their goal remained the same. Two swimmers from Basking Ridge and two others, from Far Hills and Morristown, completed a 24-mile marathon relay swim in the waters off Tampa Bay, Fla. in order to raise awareness about bipolar disorder.
This was the second year swimmers from the Somerset Hills YMCA participated in the “Swim for Richard” in honor of Richard Caretto, a volunteer at the facility’s “Saturdays in Motion” recreational program for autistic children and their families. Richard was a 2005 graduate of Lawrenceville and a Bloustein scholar who tutored special needs children and volunteered more than 200 hours assisting patients with dementia. The young township resident took his own life in April 2009 after a battle with bipolar disorder.
To date, “Two Y’s Guys and the Two Fast Y's Guys” raised more than $4,600 to benefit the “Saturdays in Motion” program.
Last year, Richard’s father Martino, Paul Kiell of Far Hills and Doug Munch of Morristown made up the “Three Y’s Guys” who took part in the Tampa Bay Marathon Swim.
This year, Martino Caretto was unable to participate in the April 23 event. His spot was taken by Michael and Will Raynes, two Basking Ridge residents who are very familiar with “Saturdays in Motion.” Their father Art initiated the program 19 years ago to help Will, who has autism, and other families with autistic children.
Both Michael, 24, and Will, 22, were competitive swimmers in high school and continue to swim “for fun,” said Michael Raynes. Neither, however, had any experience with the currents and waves of open water swimming and, with only a week’s notice, they sought advice from friends at the YMCA.
“We trained as well as we could,” he said, adding both brothers regularly swim about an hour three times a week. “We were swimming for fun and this was an unexpected thing; in a way, we were training for this event.”
Will Raynes said, “It was different from swimming in an indoor pool. You had to be careful that you don’t hit into any objects.”
Michael Raynes, who took the first 45-minute leg of the relay, admitted he was nervous. “There are a lot of great athletes swimming with you.”
Munch, 64, has been a member of the Somerset Hills YMCA for many years and regularly swims with Kiell. For him, this year’s event “was an extremely meaningful swim, raising money for autism and swimming with an autistic young man.”
“These two guys are just fabulous guys,” he added. “I give both of these young guys credit; they swam like champs.”
This year the team completed the swim in 10 hours and 35 minutes, about 40 minutes faster than last year. “All of us contributed to that," Munch said. "Besides having these two young men on the team, both Paul and I were in better condition for this year’s event.”
Each swimmer tallied a total of about 6 miles (in 3 45-minute segments) during the course of the relay and the team placed fifth of the nine relay teams that participated.
“After going through airport security, the swim was the easy part,” the 80-year-old Kiell laughed. “It was an adventure and an experience for us all. Plus, exercise is a way of lending some balance into somebody’s life and it’s very good for managing depression or bipolar issues.”
“I had a great time,” said Will Raynes. “It felt great swimming for Richard.”
Donations are still being accepted. Tax deductible checks payable to the Somerset Hills YMCA should be mailed to Somerset Hills YMCA, Development Department — Swim for Richard, 140 Mount Airy Road, Basking Ridge, 07920.
Note: Look in next week’s Basking Ridge Patch for information about the Somerset Hills YMCA’s upcoming Mental Health Week from Monday, May 9, through Friday, May 13.