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News Story
Updated: 07/05/2014 08:00:02AM

Let ‘Freedom Swim!’

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SUN PHOTO BY PAUL FALLON
A family of Freedom Swimmers — Emily Fazzone, 12, from left Marie Fazzone, 43, and Mark Fazzone, 48 — displays their patriotic inner tubes before the event kicks off Friday morning from the shore on the north side of the A.W. Gilchrist (U.S. 41 southbound) Bridge over the Peace River.

SUN PHOTO BY PAUL FALLON
Thomas Rutherford, 18, of Arcadia, was the first to finish the Freedom Swim Friday morning, with a time of around 33 minutes. Rutherford just graduated from North Port High School with the class of 2014, and was a member of the school's swim team.

SUN PHOTO BY PAUL FALLON

Freedom Swimmers set out across the mouth of the Peace River Friday for the annual event.

SUN PHOTO BY PAUL FALLON

Ray Moyer, 57, of Rotonda, finishes his second Freedom Swim Friday. This year's event marks the 23rd Freedom Swim.

SUN PHOTO BY PAUL FALLON
Kayakers participating in Friday's Freedom Swim come into Fishermen's Village in Punta Gorda, the destination for all participants.

SUN PHOTO BY PAUL FALLON
Captain America paddles into Fishermen's Village during the annual Freedom Swim Friday.

SUN PHOTO BY PAUL FALLON
A man and his three dogs prepare for the Freedom Swim across the mouth of the Peace River Friday. Around 300 swimmers, boaters, kayakers and those using flotation devices were expected for the event.

SUN PHOTO BY PAUL FALLON
Local attorney Michael Haymans gives instructions prior to the Freedom Swim's start on the Fourth of July. Haymans was one of the founding swimmers for the Freedom Swim 23 years ago.

SUN PHOTO BY PAUL FALLON
Bailey Thurman, 17, of Punta Gorda, was the first female to finish the Freedom Swim Friday. Thurman will be a junior at Charlotte High School, and is a member of the school's swim team.

SUN PHOTO BY PAUL FALLON

Freedom Swimmers gather at the beach on the north bank of the Peace River near the A.W. Gilchrist (U.S. 41 southbound) Bridge Friday morning.

SUN PHOTO BY PAUL FALLON
Captain America paddles into Fishermen's Village during the annual Freedom Swim Friday.

SUN PHOTO BY PAUL FALLON
Kayakers participating in Friday's Freedom Swim come into Fishermen's Village in Punta Gorda, the destination for all participants.

SUN PHOTO BY PAUL FALLON
A family of Freedom Swimmers — Emily Fazzone, 12, from left Marie Fazzone, 43, and Mark Fazzone, 48 — displays their patriotic inner tubes before the event kicks off Friday morning from the shore on the north side of the A.W. Gilchrist (U.S. 41 southbound) Bridge over the Peace River.

SUN PHOTO BY PAUL FALLON
Captain America paddles into Fishermen's Village during the annual Freedom Swim in Charlotte Harbor.

SUN PHOTO BY PAUL FALLON
Bailey Thurman, 17, of Punta Gorda, was the first female to finish the Freedom Swim.

SUN PHOTO BY PAUL FALLON

Freedom Swimmers gather near the A.W. Gilchrist (U.S. 41 southbound) Bridge for the traditional swim across Charlotte Harbor.

By PAUL FALLON

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ON CHARLOTTE HARBOR — Freedom Swim participants were free to boat, kayak, paddleboard or float across the mouth of the Peace River for the annual Fourth of July event.

The swim is all about celebrating personal freedom, along with Independence Day, said Michael Haymans, a swimmer who was one of the first to participate in the Freedom Swim, which can be best described as organized chaos.

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