Erie teenager remembered at the last Bay Swim

Jim and Michele Cummings return to Erie every summer for the annual Bay Swim, an event created in 2008 to celebrate the clean water at Presque Isle. 
But, it's not the water that keeps them coming back. 
Michele Cummings said "If I could just walk up to Heaven right now on a stairway and I'd bring her right back down, and she would love to see everyone here." 
Their daughter Carli was killed in a car accident in 2010 at just 15-years old. 
She was the youngest female swimmer to make it across the bay the summer before.
Ever since, money raised from the Bay Swim goes to a scholarship fund in Carli's name. 
People from all over the country travel to Erie for the event, wearing Carli on their bracelets and towels. 
"They've come from Colorado, from Florida, from New York, from Connecticut to be here and support us and the memory of Carli and to support Erie," said Michele Cummings.
After a decade of successful Bay Swims, coordinators decided this would be the last year they'd hold the event. 
Swimmer Ben Loutzenhiser said, "I've been doing this swim since I was 14-years old. The only reason I didn't do it when I was 16 is because my family went on vacation and I almost had no choice but to go." 
Many swimmers shared that same loyalty.
Even though the Bay Swim won't be returning next summer, the Cummings say Carli's memory will live on -- alongside the waves. 
The Bay Swim celebrated it's tenth year -- but also it's final year.

More Stories

Don't Miss

Latest News

Video Center