All In The Family: Tik Toks, Silly Signs, and the Buzzards Bay Swim

Natasha Southworth will be diving in for her fourth Buzzards Bay Swim on Saturday, June 24 alongside her husband Tom, who will be completing his eighth swim. They’ll be doing so with their 6 and 8 year old daughters cheering them on from the finish line.

Tom and Ava Southworth walk to the Buzzards Bay Swim in 2018.

Connecting with the community. “We found out about the swim from my best friend who used to work for the Coalition, Margo Connolly-Masson. My husband and I are both from New Bedford but had been living on the West Coast and in the South for several years. When we moved back to Mass in 2015, it was the perfect way to connect back to our community. My husband swam that year; he actually remembered the swim from growing up as a lifeguard in New Bedford. Margo told us all about the great work the Coalition did in our area and we wanted to be a part of it.”

A great first experience. “My first swim in 2018 was unseasonably warm, 90 degrees. The water was calm and warm (which was perfect because I don’t wear a wetsuit). I was very nervous since I am not a swimmer and actually don’t like to swim far into deep water. I close my eyes under water normally because I’m afraid of what I might see, lol. It was a great experience minus the thousands of critters I found in my bathing suit.”

Captivating the next generation. “Both my girls (I have an 8 and 6 year old) look forward to the swim each year since my husband does it every year. They make tik toks and signs and love the party on the beach. My 8 year old can’t wait until she is old enough to swim it herself. She absolutely loves swimming and joined the swim team at the Y. I’m excited to swim again this year since my girls don’t really remember the other times I swam. They know swimming is Daddy’s thing so it is important they know I can challenge myself and succeed. They are also learning to understand the importance of raising money to help protect the coastline from pollution and ensure we have clean water.”

Feeling the support. “I would tell new folks – you can do it!! I’ve recruited a new swimmer for our team already and she’s so excited! It feels great when you make it to Fort Phoenix – an amazing accomplishment for a Saturday morning. Having an escort next to you is also very reassuring. I’ve chatted with my brother at times while he’s on the water and it calms me down knowing he’s there. Overall though, everyone is so supportive so you never feel alone in the water.”

Registration is open now for the 30th annual Buzzards Bay Swim on June 24 at

Category: On the Bay

Working to Save Buzzards Bay

The Buzzards Bay Coalition is a membership-supported organization dedicated to improving the health of the Buzzards Bay ecosystem for all through education, conservation, research, and advocacy.

We work to protect clean water on the Bay and on the land: