Immokalee High teacher swimming around Key West again to help St. Matthew’s House

How many laps do you think you could do in an average sized home swimming pool? Two, Three? Maybe some of you athletes out there feel pretty satisfied with your double digit answer of 10 or more?

Now picture yourself swimming 680 laps.

Are you exhausted just thinking about it? You should be, because 680 laps in an average swimming pool should land you somewhere around 12.5 miles of swimming. That is the distance 49-year-old Steve Becker will swim in the annual Florida Keys Community College Swim Around Key West on June 18, 2011.

But the challenge is far from intimidating for the once Benedictine College All-American swimmer.

“I’ve competed in the Swim Around Key West twice before in 2007 and 2009. I guess every two years when my body feels up to training I sign back up,” he said.

Becker uses this meet to help raise money for St. Matthew’s House. In 2009, he came third in his age group, and helped raise $3,500 for the local homeless shelter.

St. Matthew’s House have been serving the homeless, hungry and hopeless in Collier County since 1987. It is the only emergency housing and recovery program in the county, offering 170 beds for men, women and families. Becker has been on St. Matthew’s board of trustees for four years.

St. Matthew’s House President Vann R. Ellison spoke of Beckers’ work with the organization since he moved to Naples from Boca Raton in 2009.

“He’s done so much for the St. Matthew’s House and our sister organization, the Immokalee Friendship House,” Ellison said.

He hopes that not only will Becker do well in the competition, but that his success will help raise awareness of St. Matthew’s and its causes.

“People get interested when a friend is interested,” said Ellison.

Becker not only gives back to the community with his work with the Immokalee Friendship House, he also is a teacher at Immokalee High School. Becker has been employed at Immokalee High as a math teacher two years.

Becker has been rigorously training for the “Swim Around Key West” event. Every day he swims an hour in his pool, which rounds out to about two miles or 70 laps. On the weekends, Becker takes seven mile swim trips at Bonita Beach.

“I like to swim in between Wiggins Pass and Dock’s Beach House,” he said.

When asked how he found out about this competition, Becker said, “It’s really the only long distance swim meet around. Everything else I looked up was close distance.”

The swim is to begin at 9 a.m. at the Bertha Street Boat Ramp at Key West’s Smathers Beach, located on the Atlantic Ocean at the intersection of Bertha Street and South Roosevelt Boulevard. The Swim Around Key West is open to relay teams as well as individual swimmers of any age. The competition is broken down by age and gender. Becker will be competing against 45-49 year-old males.

To support Becker’s swim, visit www.stmatthewshouse.org or write his name in the memo portion on a check and send it to St. Matthew’s House, 2001 Airport Road S. Naples, FL 34112.

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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