Two Swimmers Tackle Swim from Cape to Martha’s Vineyard for Cancer Care

Tyler Roethke and Grant Wentworth

NANTUCKET – Two swimmers completed the 6-mile swim from Cape Cod to Martha’s Vineyard on Saturday to raise funds for cancer care on Nantucket.

Tyler Roethke, who graduated from Nantucket High School this year and is soon to join Boston College’s swim team, is an All-American swimmer and 8-time state champion who joined island summer resident and long-distance swimmer Grant Wentworth in the swim from the Cape to Martha’s Vineyard.

In 2015, Wentworth became the first and only person to swim from Cape Cod to Nantucket.  

The feat took a minute over 12 hours to complete and raised $153,000 for SAA Nantucket in support of island-based cancer care.

In the swim over the weekend, just under $100,000 was raised for Nantucket Cottage Hospital and Palliative & Support Care of Nantucket through Swim Across America Nantucket by the swimmers, who each raised about $50,000 each.

Initially, the swimmers aimed to raise $50,000 total.

On August 1, a matching grant in the amount of $10,000 was received to support their efforts.

Roethke said that the crossing was a new challenge for him.

“I’ve swam 12k in a pool before in training sessions, but never open water. I’ve done a couple of the four mile swims along Nantucket’s north shore for Swim Across America these past couple years, but that’s all been within a hundred yards of the beach,” said Roethke.

The swim was nonstop and unassisted, in line with the guidelines of the “Rules of Marathon Swimming” from the Marathon Swimmers Federation.

Roethke said he had to modify his training regime to prepare for the open-water swim, which is a big change from sets in pools.

“You definitely have to set a different pace. I’ve been doing a lot more open water swimming lately instead of just pool swimming. I’ve been doing a balance of both to find those two different strokes, because when you’re in open water you want to have that longer, smooth stroke versus in the pool, where there’s a lot more tempo and spring work,” said Roethke.

To ensure safety, a team on two boats and kayaks followed the swimmers across the waters, launching with the pair from Falmouth Beach early Saturday morning.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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