General Questions

Women Swimmin’ for Hospicare is a community swim (not a race) that benefits Hospicare& Palliative Care Services. Swimmers (and some boaters) raise money to support hospice, palliative care and bereavement services in our community. We are honored by the enthusiasm and interest our community has for this event!

Q: Why don’t you let more people register for the event?

A: We set the maximum number of swimmers for registration based on how many we can safely accommodate for the swim across the lake. 

This year we will be registering 350 swimmers and will have a wait list of up to 30 swimmers. If a swimmer cancels before July 11, we will go to the first woman on the wait list to take her place. For logistical reasons, if a swimmer cancels after July 11 it will be a cancellation without substituting in a swimmer on the wait list. While we can’t guarantee every swimmer on the wait list will have a chance to participate on Women Swimmin’ day, we have observed over the past 14 years that between 30 and 60 swimmers will cancel before the swim.

Q: Why can’t Women Swimmin’ be a 2-day event in order to fit in more swimmers?

A: Women Swimmin’ for Hospicare relies on the support of hundreds of people to safely execute the event (volunteers, boaters, Coast Guard, Tompkins County Sherriff, Bangs Ambulance, Ithaca Bakery and Collegetown Bagels, the Ithaca Yacht Club, to name a few) and we cannot ask them to contribute their time, space and resources for longer than they already do. The Ithaca Yacht Club, Ithaca Airport Limo, Satori Salon and Day Spa, and Ithaca Bakery/Collegetown Bagels are all able to help us because the event happens so early in the morning that they can get back to their customers before their normal business day begins.

Q: Why can’t you have more waves and extend the event throughout the day to allow more women to participate?

A: There are a few reasons for this. First, safety of our swimmers and boaters is always our top priority. We have observed in 14 years of Women Swimmin’ that Cayuga Lake gets choppier as the day progresses. While the lake may be still as glass at 6:30 a.m., at around 10:30 a.m. the wind tends to pick up and conditions become less favorable for our swimmers and their volunteer paddler escorts to traverse the lake. Also, traffic on the lake (from other boaters) tends to become busier around mid-morning. Our top concern is to have everyone complete the course safely and this can happen best in the early morning hours.

Second is a concern of courtesy and logistics. The Ithaca Yacht Club has been very generous in hosting the event each year and letting us take over their club. Quite understandably, their members would like to have their club back for their usual Saturday recreation and events.

Q: How can I guarantee that I will be registered for the swim?

A: With the 2017 swim filling up in just a couple hours, we suggest waking up early for the start of online registration at 6:00 a.m. on Monday May 7. Set your alarm; maybe set 2 alarms.

Q: Why does swimmer registration open at 6:00 a.m. on a Monday? Can’t you start later in the day? Or on a weekend?

A: We considered this option and have realized that there is no one time that will work well for everyone. We opted for early morning as we know many swimmers will register before their workday starts.

Q: Why can’t you let previous swimmers register before everyone else can?

A: We do allow a limited number of swimmers to register early based on the total amount of money they have raised over the past 14 years. Each year about a third of our swimmers are new to the event and excited to swim! We don’t want to diminish their enthusiasm or limit the accessibility of the event to new participants.

Q. I didn’t get in and I really, really want to swim!

A. We are so sorry that you were unable to register for this year’s swim. We recognize that this may be very disappointing and we deeply regret not being able to safely accommodate more swimmers for the swim across the lake. You can also consider participating in other ways this year – such as donating to another swimmer or joining us as a volunteer. We also have another option for you to participate, as a Laps Swimmer.

Please know how grateful we are for your continued support and enthusiasm for our event. We so appreciate the incredible support our community has for Women Swimmin’ and hence for the individuals and families Hospicare serves.

Q. How do Laps Swimmers participate?

A. As a Laps Swimmer you have the opportunity to swim any distance you choose, in any pool with a certified lifeguard, between March 15 and August 11 to fundraise for Hospicare. For more info visit the Women Swimmin' Laps information page

Q. How about increasing the fundraising minimum?

A. Just as hospice care is available to anyone who qualifies medically, we want Women Swimmin’ for Hospicare to remain available and accessible to any woman in our community who is able to participate. We don’t want the registration fee or fundraising minimum to feel like a financial barrier to participation.

Q. Where does the money go?

A. All funds raised through Women Swimmin’ for Hospicare are used to provide important physical, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual support to patients, families and friends facing the hard issues of mortality and loss. Funds also allow us to provide items such as medications, oxygen, specialized medical equipment, and more to patients in their own homes and to those in our Hospicare Residence. We will not turn anyone away from Hospicare because of a lack of ability to pay. Thanks to the generous support of our corporate sponsors, 100% of the money raised by swimmers goes toward patient and family care.

Q: Why can’t I find out what pod I am in/what time I am swimming sooner?

A: We do not start organizing the Pods until two weeks before the swim. As you can imagine, the process of sorting 300+ women into appropriate Pods and trying to honor Pod and boater requests is complex and time consuming so the list is not finalized until the week before the swim.