In 2015, there were 5.1 million inground swimming pools around the United States. These pools can be used for leisure or exercise; however, for one mother-daughter duo, swimming isn’t just an opportunity to have fun and stay fit.
Ann Marie Vitiello and her daughter Anne love to swim and love getting outside. In August 2017, the pair completed yet another one-mile swim across the Hudson River. For Anne Marie, it was her 11th time. For Anne, it was her second.
Back in 2006, Anne Marie decided that she wanted to take her hobby to the next level by doing it for the greater good. She decided to take part in the Great Newburgh-to-Beacon Hudson River Swim, which is a swim to benefit the River Pool organization. It would help with maintenance and operation of one of the pools and parks within that part of the river. Anne saw this fundraiser as a great way to get her mother out in the water, and as a way to bring her family together.
Anne spoke with The Times-Tribune about the fundraiser and how it would be a great fit for her mom, Anne Marie.
“She was such a strong swimmer, and it reminded me of her,” Anne said. “It was after dad had passed, and I also thought it was just a nice reason to all be together.”
Anne Marie began her swimming career when she was a child. She learned to swim as a young adult and joined a synchronized swimming team.
The Vitiello family loves to get outdoors and be active. Anne Marie grew up going on walks and picking berries, so it was important to her to be able to allow her kids to do the same.
“I always tried to lead by example,” Anne Marie said. “You don’t need a lot of money to have something to do. If it was fun and they felt fulfilled and happy, then that was great.”
During the first year of the fundraiser, the entire family came out to support Anne Marie and the cause. In turn, it quickly became a way to bring the family together. The swim itself takes anywhere from 45 to 75 minutes.
After Anne Marie’s seventh or eighth swim, she and her kids joked that one of them should join her in the water for her next journey. Anne decided to be the one.
The pair says they don’t intend on stopping swimming together anytime soon. Anne tells her mother “As long as you’re able to do it, I’ll do it.”