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Eight-mile swim to benefit son of shooting victim

Swimmers will brave the open ocean, with an eye out for cruise ships and other hazards, when this weekend’s North Rock Challenge sends them far offshore for charity.

Organisers for the gruelling swim in aid of Hazajae Outerbridge, whose father Haile was gunned down in February, are keeping an anxious eye on weather forecasts.

Meanwhile community-conscious musicians, plus several local businesses, have thrown their support behind the eight-mile swim.

With southerly winds expected this weekend, organiser Jon Tomlinson said he’ll know by late today when the seven swimmers will get their window of opportunity.

“Providing it’s executed safely and there is no drama, I’d imagine it could become a calendar event,” he said.

The Royal Gazette has come aboard to sponsor the swim, to help fund education for nine-year-old Hazajae.

Depending on how this weekend turns out, the North Rock Challenge may support others in the future: the double shooting in Happy Valley also claimed the life of Ricco Furbert.

One hurdle in the way of expanding the swim, Mr Tomlinson said, is there’s a limited number of people who can safely cover the distance.

“This is a first-time long distance swim with no good landmarks,” he added.

Overheating and dehydration could be a risk, fellow swimmer Kevin Insley pointed out.

“The water right now is warm as a bath,” Mr Insley said. “Think about running a marathon in high humidity. When you’re swimming, you get dehydrated just the same way.”

Boats and kayakers will keep watch over the swimmers.

Swimmer Nick Strong said “reconnaissance” of the East End run between North Rock and Achilles Bay by Fort St Catherine showed that wind presented another risk.

“We’re looking at the possible option of swimming with the wind direction,” he said — meaning they’ll decide today whether to swim out to the North Rock, or swim in to shore.

And whether to swim tomorrow or Sunday will shortly be decided.

Along with

The Royal Gazette, companies AWAC, Kitson and Validus have joined supporters.

Royal Gazette CEO Jonathan Howes praised the swimmers as an inspiration, adding: “We are part of this community, and this swim will give back to our community.

“It’s an event borne out of tragedy that will give this young man an opportunity to have something more.”

Mr Howes added: “The idea going forward is to try and grow this event. Obviously, that has to be done in a safe fashion, so criteria have to be developed for its expansion.”

Another group supporting the swim is the community team ‘Operation Put Back’. Organiser Cleveland Simmons said the group, which carries musicians on a flatbed truck, wants to provide an after-swim party with music onshore.

Fellow member Michael Markham said: “We’re committed to helping anybody coming alongside for people who have been affected by violence. This is a child whose father is gone, and the swim is a wonderful example of the community coming together across the board.”

This weekend’s team of swimmers have asked supporters to wait onshore at Achilles Bay rather than going out on the offshore route.


The Royal Gazette for updates on when the North Rock Challenge sets off this weekend.

North Rock Challenge: Pictured (from left) are John Tomlinson, Nick Strong, Graham Smith, Stuart Joblin and Paul DeGiuilo.(Photo by Akil Simmons)
<B>Join us in supporting the North Rock Challenge</B>

If you want to support this weekend’s challenge, there are two ways to donate.

You can help by visiting premierticketsglobal.com/OpenTickets/612/Northrock-Foundation-Challenge.

Donations can also be made through the Bermuda Masters Swimming Association.

The association’s account details are: HSBC Bank Account 002-060481-001. Please reference North Rock Challenge.

To learn more, contact either Nick Strong at nstrong@northrock.bm or Jon Tomlinson at jtomlinson@bga.bm

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Published July 26, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated July 25, 2013 at 10:57 pm)

Eight-mile swim to benefit son of shooting victim

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