The Examiner

Local Swim Coach Hits the Water to Fight Against Cancer

We are part of The Trust Project

As a coach and master swimmer, Dan Levy is no stranger to the water. He enjoys not only leading children to be successful in competition but loves being able to get into the pool himself.

Chappaqua Swim & Tennis swim coach Dan Levy will be swimming in the Long Island Sound this Saturday to raise money for cancer research as part of Swim Across America. He is also in the midst of completing seven pool swims throughout the county.

This weekend, he plans to do something he’s never been able to try.

Levy, a regular participant in the annual Swim Across America events to raise money for cancer research, plans to head to Larchmont on Saturday and be one of the hundreds of swimmers looking to complete the Long Island Sound Open Water Swim.

Since 2016, Levy has been part of each of the seven pool swims throughout Westchester, including the one at Chappaqua Swim & Tennis, raising money and awareness. He plans to be at Chappaqua’s swim, which is scheduled for this Sunday, as he is again in the midst of completing the pool swims that started on July 12.

But the Long Island Sound Open Water Swim has eluded him, only because it has coincided with important meets for teams he has coached.

This year there is no conflict, so Levy contacted Swim Across America’s Long Island Sound Chapter President Anthony (Tony) Sibio to let him know he’ll be at the two-kilometer swim this Saturday. The event starts at 6 a.m.

“I think he knows that I would never do it because it was always the same day as the meet,” Levy said. “He just wanted to know that I was available if it ever works out, so I’ve been trying to do it for years but as soon as I saw the championship was a week later, I was excited. It almost felt incomplete, like I was doing all of them except the main one.”

For many of the hundreds of swimmers like Levy who participate in the swims each summer, the war waged against cancer is a personal one. Levy lost his sister, Karen, to colon cancer in 2008. The year before that, his friend and Chappaqua Swim & Tennis member David Simon succumbed to the disease.

Then last December, one of the children that he coached at Chappaqua, eight-year-old Scarlett Chwatko, lost her battle with brain cancer. This year, Chappaqua’s Swim Across America team has been named Team KiDS, in honor of Karen, David and Scarlett.

Levy said Scarlett remains an inspiration.

“Just last summer Scarlett was swimming at a meet and she had just come from treatments and was exhausted, of course,” Levy said. “I told her mom and I told Scarlett you don’t have to do all four races. We didn’t realize she’d be coming straight from treatments but she wanted to do them all. For the last few years she was so heroic and such a fighter, it was more important to her to finish each race than her time. She did all four races and I’d like to think that I’m carrying on her spirit and fight that she’d continue to be giving if she was still around.”

As of nearly two weeks ago, more than 20 people were on the team and not just his swimmers and club members but participants from the entire community, he said.

Sibio said when he helped establish the first series of swims in 1992, they had 17 swimmers and raised $15,000. Last year there were more than 900 participants with nearly $1.2 million collected.

Proceeds from the swims will go toward immunotherapy research at the Swim Across America Laboratory at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, pediatric oncology research at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian and patient services with the Westchester-based Cancer Support Team, he said.

While Swim Across America now has corporate sponsorships that help out, the overwhelming portion of money raised is because of the dedication of people like Levy, Sibio said.

“Basically, it’s a way to fight. When you’re dealing with cancer, it’s a helpless feeling and everything is out of control and this is a way to turn around and say ‘I can fight back this disease,’” he said.

Registration is still open for the three remaining swims – this weekend’s Open Swim and Chappaqua event, which is Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. and the Aug. 3 swim at Lake Isle Country Club in Eastchester from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. Club membership is not required to participate in the pool swims.

For more information or to register, visit



We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.