San Diego Man Trains for 28.5-Mile Swim in New York City to Benefit Monarch School

Top Quote Blair Cannon Qualifies to Compete in a Swim Around the Manhattan Island; Aims to Raise Funding for San Diego's Homeless Youth. End Quote
  • San Diego, CA (1888PressRelease) June 06, 2012 - Last year, Blair Cannon, local philanthropist and vice president of Bernstein Global Wealth Management, swam 21 miles from Catalina Island to the coast of California in the middle of the night without a wetsuit in 62 degree water. This year, he's back in the waters of La Jolla Cove training for a new challenge, the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. Taking place June 23, it is a 28.5-mile solo circumnavigation of the island of Manhattan.

    Cannon is one of 40 swimmers from around the world who qualified and has been selected to compete in the prestigious swim. Taking on the Hudson River and other waterways around New York City, Blair is expected to swim for more than 8 hours in 65 degree water with no wetsuit. The goal: to raise money and awareness for Monarch School.

    "After swimming the Catalina Channel, I wasn't sure if I would take on another big open water swim," said Cannon. "Preparing for a swim of this distance is a tremendous undertaking - I've already logged over 700,000 yards in the pool since January." Testing himself at endurance sports isn't new for Cannon - he's also completed four Ironman Triathlons, more than a dozen marathons, and numerous ultra-distance backpacking treks. "I enjoy endurance sports, but found that racing for my own sake was no longer satisfying. By combining sports with my passion for helping our youth, I have a new, and much more profound, reason to compete. Committing my time and energy to help these homeless children meet their basic needs and receive a quality education is far more important than simply trying to find a spot on the podium. And, having hundreds of homeless students at Monarch counting on me to succeed is an incredibly powerful motivation. The students are my inspiration. There's no doubt that I will suffer mentally and physically during this 28.5 mile swim, but it's only for 8 hours. These children overcome far greater challenges every day. Some of them don't even know where they will sleep tonight."

    Cannon was first introduced to Monarch School in the fall of 2010 and was immediately and deeply moved by the need to help San Diego's growing homeless-youth population. After completing the Catalina Channel swim last August, he has since joined the Monarch School Board of Directors and set his sights on this new goal to continue helping the school.

    Cannon continued, "This swim is a small way for me to leverage my talents to give back to the community and make a difference for these children. Not only in raising money for the school, but I also hope it shows the Monarch students that they can accomplish anything they want in life if they work for it."
    During the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, Cannon will compete against a field of the world's top open-water marathon swimmers. His training kicked into full gear in January, and he'll log more than 500 miles in the water prior to starting the race. Cannon's rigorous six-month training schedule is fueled by HYDRA C5 and other products, which help with energy, endurance and recovery. Kate Grace and her team at Evolve Physical Therapy ( have been instrumental in helping him cross-train, recover, and ensure that his body is well prepared for race day.

    His longest week of training included 43 miles in the ocean with a 12-mile swim to cap off the week. In early June, he will begin to taper his training and focus on recovery, his diet and getting mentally prepared for the challenge.

    As Cannon puts in the hard labor, he is asking the community for support. "Manhattan Swim for Monarch" donations and sponsorships will benefit the Monarch School's Annual Fund, assisting with general operating expenses for the school's year-round services that help break the cycle of homelessness. This includes providing food, hygiene kits, clothing, school supplies, counseling, transportation to and from school, and more. To learn more about the swim or to get involved, visit Or, join in the conversation at or

    About Monarch School:
    Founded in 1988, Monarch School, located in downtown San Diego, is a public K-12 school exclusively for students who are at-risk and impacted by homelessness. Monarch School represents a unique public-private partnership between the San Diego County Office of Education and a nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization. Each year, the school serves more than 400 children impacted by homelessness in San Diego County. Monarch School's committed team of educators, support staff and volunteers is dedicated to providing homeless children with an accredited education while caring for their basic needs. Monarch School broke ground on its new Nat & Flora Bosa Campus in downtown San Diego in February 2012 and is expected to complete construction in early 2013. For more information, visit or call (619) 237-7678.

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