Witness excellence at the Maggie Fischer Memorial Great South Bay Cross Bay Swim


For almost 100 years, athletes from Bay Shore, Brightwaters, and around the country have gathered at the Fire Island Lighthouse to push the boundaries of athletic excellence at The Maggie Fischer Memorial Great South Bay Cross Bay Swim.

The swim was first established in 1927 and is now one of the longest open-water swims in the country—a single-person race from the Fire Island Lighthouse to Gilbert Park in Brightwaters that requires both athleticism and navigational skills.

In 1999, the swim was dedicated to the memory of Maggie Fischer, who died just a few days before the 1999 race she was scheduled to compete in. Fischer was born and raised in Brightwaters, a member of the crew and swim teams at St. Anthony’s High School, and a resolute lifeguard to the Saltaire community on Fire Island. Now, 130 athletes swim each year in her honor, required to raise $500 or more to participate in the philanthropic race. Proceeds from The Maggie Fischer Memorial Great South Bay Cross Bay Swim benefit two amazing causes: the Hospice Care Network Children’s and Family Bereavement Program and a scholarship fund in Maggie Fischer’s name.

The start of the race, which kicks off at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 9, is an incredible sight to see every year. To join in on the fun and observe the start of the swim, meet at the Fire Island Lighthouse to watch as participants begin the 5.5-mile open-water swim. Spectators are invited to park at the east end of Robert Moses State Park Field 5 and walk to the lighthouse for the start, where you can observe from the dock or walk down to the swimmers at the beach.

After the exciting kickoff, spectators can drive to Gilbert Park in Brightwaters, where swimmers will start arriving in around one hour and 45 minutes to about four hours after the start. All swimmers will be out of the water by 11:30 a.m. before the awards ceremony at 11:45 a.m. An after-party will be held at Napper Tandy’s in Bay Shore from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. following the event. 


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