8th Annual Ray Licata Swim
Long Branch: It has been eight years since Ray Licata, community activist and member of the Long Branch swim community, died unexpectedly late one summer afternoon following his routine ocean swim. To continue to honor Ray’s memory, the committee members of the Ray Licata Memorial Swim have announced that the annual One Mile Ocean Swim will be held on Sunday August 19, 2012 at Pier Village in Long Branch, NJ. Also returning this year will be the One Mile Walk-Along which allows families, friends, and beach goers to walk long the swim route on the Long Branch Boardwalk. The One Mile Swim and the accompanying Walk-Along will commence at 8:00 AM with registration opening at 6:30 am.
The One Mile Swim memorializes the untimely passing of Ray Licata, a Jersey Shore resident who loved the beach and always did his part to support shoreline safety. Ray served as an Administrator for the Monmouth County Division of Social Services for 34 years, retiring in 2002. He also volunteered for the 9/11 Memorial Project and Deal Lake Commission.
An avid swimmer, Ray knew the West End waters well. He took care of the beach could often be seen collecting unsightly trash, providing instruction to young children during their first experiences in the ocean, and occasionally helping with rescue efforts. He recognized the importance of the lifeguard's role and commented shortly before his death about organizing an Ocean Mile Swim in Long Branch.
Fulfilling Ray’s vision, the annual swim is in its eighth successive year. The Swim Committee members are enthusiastic about continuing the Walk Along, which allows many more people to participate in this community event.
Of special note is three time winner of the Ray Licata Memorial Swim, a Long Branch Lifeguard, Olympian Connor Jaeger. “We are excited to cheer Connor on in London as he competes in the 1500 meter freestyle for the U.S. Olympic team,” commented Glen Rassas, the Committee Chair and Race Director for the event.
Rassas also stated, “we are looking forward to another successful event and anticipate nearly 300 swimmers participate this year. We would like to encourage everyone to come out: swim or walk along the swim route, and support the Long Branch beachfront community.”
Proceeds from this year’s community event again will be earmarked to support beach safety as well as a junior lifeguard program. The junior lifeguard program is in its fourth year of support from the Ray Licata Memorial Swim and will teach children and adolescents the basic requirements of beachfront safety, swimming, and lifeguard skills. “It is our hope to give young members of our community, particularly those who do not have the financial resources to enroll in such a program, an opportunity to learn how to promote ocean safety and potentially become a member of the Long Branch lifeguard team,” commented Rassas. "We are proud to have junior lifeguard graduates participating as lifeguards for the City of Long Branch."
About the Ray Licata Memorial Swim:
Organized by local residents of Monmouth County, the Ray Licata Memorial Swim is co-sponsored by the Long Branch Department of Recreation. Over the past seven years, the swim has raised over $49,000. Funds have been used by the City of Long Branch to purchase 2 certified lifeboats, portable defibrillator, Jet Ski and an ATV. All of this equipment is now available and in use to protect the many residents, vacationers, and visitors to the Long Branch beachfront. Since its inception in 2005, the Ray Licata Memorial Swim committee has worked to improve the quality of the event. Over the last few years, the event has evolved and now includes special swimmer recognitions. The swim now begins and ends at Pier Village. Hundreds of spectators every year enjoy the opportunity to look on and participate in the day’s activity.
Members of the Organizing Committee include: Glen Rassas, Ray Licata, Jr., Irwin Mizrahi, Lisa Ferrigno, Mark Levy, Bonnie Levy, Theresa Licata McConnell, Ali Dadmarz, Joe Ferragina, Dale Mortenson, Bill Krug, Barbara Dweck, and Jeanne Zucker.
For more information refer to the event website www.RayLicataMemorialSwim.com or contact Glen Rassas, 732-222-2932 (evenings).