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Community units to welcome Lynne Cox: author, open water swimmer, motivational speaker

Lynn Cox's book, "Swimming to Antarctica" will be a community read project in preparation for her October visit to Skaneateles.

Lynn Cox's book, "Swimming to Antarctica" will be a community read project in preparation for her October visit to Skaneateles.

— A dream of bringing a record-breaking long distance swimmer and acclaimed author to Skaneateles Central Schools has expanded to involve and unite the entire community.

Motivational speaker Lynne Cox will be in Skaneateles the week of Oct. 10 to meet with students and community members. She is the author of “Swimming to Antarctica” and several other books.

Cox will share stories about her incredible swimming achievements — including a swim across the Bering Strait that helped open relations between the US and Soviet Union in 1987.

She first burst into the world spotlight when she swam across the English Channel at age 15 in 1972, shattering the men’s and women’s world records with a time of nine hours and 57 minutes. She has been swimming ever since.

As her story has spread throughout Skaneateles, many groups and organizations have joined in the effort to bring her here from her home in California and to make the most of her visit. Sponsored by the Skaneateles Education Foundation and the district PTCs, Cox has also drawn support from Rotary, the YMCA, Endurance Monster, Creekside Books, SkanRaces, AAUW and AXA Advisors.

Sandy Drancsak, a physical education teacher at State Street School, isn’t surprised at the widespread enthusiasm. “She seemed like such a good fit for the community,” Drancsak said.

More than an author, more than an athlete, Cox is an inspiration for all ages.

The idea of the visit started when some Skaneateles Middle School girls — now in 10th and 11th grades — read and loved her book “Swimming to Antarctica,” said Sharon O’Connell, middle school librarian.

“They went to Creekside to talk about it. They wanted to meet her … and it has been on my mind that I’d like her to come ever since,” O’Connell said.

Later, an adult book group read the book. The women met at Susan Wulff’s cottage at Pine Bluff to discuss the book while their children were swimming in the clear waters of Skaneateles Lake.

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