Providence College swim team raises $19,000 for cancer

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PROVIDENCE – Providence College’s Division I swim team is no stranger to success with a top-five finish in this year’s Big East Conference. But last Saturday the Friars took home a different kind of trophy: the “SAA College Cup,” given to the team that raised the most money for the Swim Across America (SAA) open-water mile, an annual fundraiser dedicated to fighting cancer.

The New England event was co-sponsored by Woman & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island and Swim Across America.  SAA is a national non-profit that partners with cancer research institutes in hosting benefit swims. Since 1987, SAA has raised over $40 million. Olympic swimmers, Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin among them, have participated in SAA swims.

Ten New England collegiate teams participated, raising a total of $126,000 for the cause. Providence College took home the Cup after for the seventh straight year, after raising $19,000, the most of any participating team.

John O’Neill, the head coach for Providence College’s swimming program is also a board member of SAA in Rhode Island. In accepting the Cup, O’Neill said the big winners of Saturday’s win were the patients benefiting from the organization’s work and from the medical care and research undertaken at Woman & Infants.

Woman & Infants Hospital, a teaching hospital associated with Brown University, traces its history of providing medical care for women and newborns to the late 19th century.  Its program in Women’s Oncology was launched in 1989 focusing on gynecological and breast cancers.