Local activist raises awareness through Texas swim

Staff Writer

Friday, October 12, 2018

AMHERST — A recent 20-mile swim in Texas by an Amherst woman raised both money and awareness for an organization that is fighting institutional discrimination, including that faced by families and individuals crossing the southern border of the United States.

Sydne Didier recently completed a marathon swim on Lake Lyndon B. Johnson, a reservoir on the Colorado River near Austin, Texas.

The swim raised $3,410 through a Facebook fundraiser for the Texas Civil Rights Project, which has confronted the school to prison pipeline.

Didier, who has done other marathon swims, including one off the coast of Culebra, a tiny island near Puerto Rico, chose the Texas swim because of its proximity to her in-laws’ home and the government’s separation of children from parents at the border.

“I’ve watched the situation, I see my own son, and thought about what I could offer,” Didier said.

Didier said her swim went from Inks Lake Dam to Marble Falls Dam. Anything longer than a 10-kilometer swim is considered a marathon swim.

Prior to departing, Didier trained in her own pool and as part of the University of Massachusetts Aquatics Masters Team.

During the swim, she could have no intentional contact with any vessel or land. Every 30 minutes, a bottle attached to a carabiner was thrown from a kayak, and she also got periodic chocolate goos and gummy bears as part of her regimen.

In a thank you note on Facebook to those who contributed, Didier wrote:

“At a time when it’s easy for so many of us to feel overwhelmed and helpless, organizations like the Texas Civil Rights Project give me hope. And all of you give me hope too.”