Buzzards Bay Swim Stories: The Creation of “The Waterwing Division”

Steve Johnson will be diving in for his twelfth Buzzards Bay Swim on Saturday, June 24. Learn how his first Swim helped dozens of others swim for clean water. 

When Steve Johnson first heard about the Buzzards Bay Swim over a dozen years ago, he contacted the organizers to take part in the event. As was the case with most open water group swims at the time, there was no use of extra equipment allowed, so Steve was not able to register.

His dedication to protecting Buzzards Bay took over, and he gave it one more try- he asked if the organizers might consider bending the rules to allow for more swimmers to participate. The organizers agreed to create a specific wave at the start line for swimmers using extra equipment, and thus was created what Steve came to call “The Waterwing Division.”

Steve recounted the experience of his first ever Buzzards Bay Swim:

“When I arrived at the starting point that morning in June and they called out my flight, I found myself in the water with an elderly woman from the Cape and her granddaughter who was about 12 years old, and we had a good laugh because of our special status and the fact that our group was so small. I’m very proud to say that I came in first in my division that year!

And I’m also proud to say that I got the award for top individual fundraiser that year, as well as several other times over the course of my participation in the Swim. My, how this event has grown.”

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: