The 2015 Tampa Bay Frogman Swim will be held on January 11th! Their goal is to build national awareness of the Naval Special Warfare community and become a key fundraiser of the Navy SEAL Foundation by building a premier annual event that challenges athletes with weather conditions similar to SEAL training. The proceeds to the Tampa Bay Frogman Swim will be used to provide injury assistance to Navy SEALs and tragedy assistance for families who have lost a loved one in training or combat. Another goal is to provide support for the Naval Special Warfare Community and perpetuate the history and heritage of the U.S. Naval Commandos.
If you would still like to support, please consider volunteering, kayaking, participating in their Virtual Frogman Challenge or donating. Thank you for the overwhelming support!
Tampa Bay Frogman Swim History:
It started over a cup of coffee. Sam Farnan, a senior at St. Petersburg Catholic High School, dreamed of being a SEAL. But as any veteran of the U.S. Navy’s elite Special Forces unit will tell you, to make muster, you must conquer cold water.
So Terry Tomalin, the outdoors-fitness editor for the St. Petersburg Times, suggested the 17-year-old accompany him on a swim across Tampa Bay. Tomalin and some friends at Clearwater Beach Safety had made the crossing several times in fall of 1996.
Tampa Bay Watch, one of Florida’s leading environmental advocacy groups, heard about the swim and subsequently staged organized races along the same route in the spring of ’97, ’98 and ’99.
That’s when the proverbial light bulb went off in the head of Commander Dan O’Shea USNR. O’Shea, a former SEAL who had been mentoring Farnan since the boy was 10-years-old, suggested they turn the New Year’s swim into a fundraiser for a SEAL officer who had recently been wounded in Afghanistan.
Dolittle Photo – Frogman Swim O’Shea enlisted the help of Lt. Mark Lampman, an active duty SEAL, and together the four organized the first Tampa Bay Frogman Swim. Conditions were harsh – the water temperature hovered in the high 50s – but nearly 40 swimmers managed to make it across the bay and raise thousands of dollars in individual pledges for the injured SEAL officer, Lt. Dan Cnossen and his family.
After the success of the 2010 event, former SEAL and swim coach Rory O’Connor assumed the role of race director. Then, along with triathlete/swimmer Kurt Ott, son of the legendary SEAL Norm Ott, webmaster Doug Santo, another SEAL veteran, volunteer coordinator Annie Okerlin, O’Shea and Tomalin, they put together a follow up to the successful inaugural event.
The 2nd annual Frogman Swim attracted 67 registrants who braved the frigid waters of Tampa Bay and raised $53,000 for the Navy SEAL Foundation which benefits the families of wounded and fallen SEALs. This 2011 race was sanctioned as an official 5K open-water swim by both USA Swimming and U.S. Masters Swimming.
The 2012 Frogman featured 120 swimmers including 3x Olympic Medalist Brooke Bennett, Swimming Triple Crown swimmer Craig Lenning and 14 year old Olympic hopeful Becca Mann. Increased participant fundraising and corporate sponsorships took the event to the next level, raising well over $150,000 for the Navy SEAL Foundation.
The 2013 event was capped at 150 swimmers and raised over $250,000 for the Navy SEAL Foundation while keeping the expense ratio under 10%. After competing at the Olympic qualifiers in during the summer, Becca Mann returned to take the podium spot as the overall winner. Over 400 swimmers, volunteers and supporters joined together afterwards for the infamous post race party and awards ceremony at Hula Bay Bar and Grill.
The 2014 cap was raised to 175 swimmers as the event sold out in less than five hours after registration opened! Swimmer fundraising and the addition of new sponsors increased our total fundraising amount to over $275,000. Sponsor New Belgium Brewery provided Fat Tire beer to go along with the all you can eat taco bar at our waterfront post race party at Hula Bay Bar & Grill.