On Sunday, Aug. 25, swimmers ages 12 and up will hit the water for a good cause during the fourth annual Sophie Swim, a 2K open water race from Kaanapali’s Kahekili Beach Park to Black Rock and back. Now in its fourth year, the event—the only one of its kind on Maui—will raise funds for the Sophie DeLoria Foundation, which supports organizations that provide athletic and performing arts opportunities to local youth. The foundation was established by Sue DeLoria of Keller Williams Realty Maui and her husband, JD, in memory of their daughter, Sophie, who died in a tragic accident in 2011 at the age of 8.

Since its inception, the Sophie DeLoria Foundation has raised and donated funds to the Lahaina Swim Club, Maui Music Mission, Lahaina Arts Society, Maui Academy of Performing Arts, Maui OnStage at the Historic Iao Theater, West Maui Boys & Girls Club, Friends of Lahainaluna High School Music, Lahaina Canoe Club, Holy Innocents Preschool, Friends of the Children’s Justice Center of Maui, and the Lahaina Tennis Club. “Our mission statement is to help local keiki in the community experience participation in either dance, music, drama, art or a sport,” DeLoria explained. “It can be cost-prohibitive for some kids to participate in an activity, or if they are already involved, to be able to compete in a competition or be in a production that requires the family to provide travel expenses, equipment, supplies or dues. We want to assist as many keiki as we can so they can participate in an activity that will help them grow as individuals and give them experiences that will encourage and inspire them to be the best they can be. We all grow through our experiences and I think kids need to have those opportunities.”

The Sophie Swim is the foundation’s major fundraiser and DeLoria says it is the perfect way to honor her daughter, who was an avid swimmer. DeLoria came up with the idea for the event four years ago while swimming with a friend in the waters off Kahekili Beach Park. That day, she spotted a group of kids—members of the Lahaina Swim Club—gleefully racing toward Black Rock.

That’s when a plan began to take shape.

A few weeks later, after a flurry of phone calls and emails, the inaugural Sophie Swim made its debut with more than 140 participants. DeLoria credits the success of the annual event to those who volunteer each year—on and off the water—as well as the many businesses that donate gift certificates, activities and merchandise.
Registration for this year’s Sophie Swim is now underway. There are race divisions for competitors ages 12 and up (both with and without swim fins) and awards will be given to the winners and runners-up of each division. Race day registration starts at 7 a.m. at the Kahekili Beach Park pavilion. The youth race for swimmers ages 12 to 17 begins at 8 a.m., followed by the adult race at 8:15 a.m. Swim caps are mandatory and will be provided.
Kahekili Beach Park is privately owned and operated by the Kaanapali North Beach Masters Association at their sole expense. This beach park property and its facilities are made available to the public for primarily casual park uses and beach access, subject to signage at the park which clearly indicates and states rules and regulations for use and enjoyments of the facilities during posted hours only, and strictly prohibiting commercial uses.

“We have been fortunate to receive donations and are continuing to receive prizes from the local community, many of whom have donated four years in a row. I am always humbled by how much support there is in this community and we would like to thank all of them for their generosity,” DeLoria said. “And a big thank you to all of our swimmers who show up every year. We encourage more to come out and jump in the big pool with us.”
Swimmers can register online at https://flpregister.com/385. For more details or to view photos and videos of past events, “like” the Sophie Swim Facebook page at www.facebook.com/theSophieSwim. To inquire about donor or sponsorship opportunities, visit www.sophieDeLoria.org or contact Sue DeLoria at 250-5948 or sue@sophieDeLoria.org.

The Maui News – August 12, 2019

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