SC Swimming Partners
12th Annual Dam Swim for Drew


On Saturday, September 18, the Lexington High School Swim Team will host the 12th Annual “LHS Dam Swim for Drew”. Registration begins at 8:00 with the first wave of swimmers entering the water at 9:00. The two-mile open water swim across Lake Murray begins from the Irmo boat landing, crosses the lake past the three towers, and concludes on the Lexington side of the dam at the SCE&G Park.  

The purpose of the annual swim across the dam is to raise awareness of boating and swimming safety in memory of Drew Smith. Drew was killed in a boating accident when a group of boaters made the decision to drink and drive all day on Lake Murray. They rammed into the boat young Drew and his dad, Randy, were fishing in a Lake Murray cove. Randy Smith survived the ordeal; Drew did not. As a result of Drew’s death, South Carolina State Senators voted on legislation for “Boating Under the Influence”, soon after the accident. SC Code 50-21-112 soon became known as “Drew’s Law”.
The swim began 12 years ago when the Lexington High School swim team approached Coach Anna Daly (former Olympian from New Zealand) and Lexington High School Principal Creig Tyler to ask if they could contact Karen and Randy Smith to form an annual event in memory of Drew. Area swimmers and tri-athletes asked to participate in the swim. The LHS swim team now host what has become a National swim event in Columbia with Masters-level, as well as USA Swimming participants ages 12 to 65 swimming.  The LHS Dam Swim for Drew is sanctioned meet with swimmers now coming from all over the southeast. In 2009, Master’s participants from Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia arrived at the Lake Murray Dam for the event.
The Dam Swim has grown over the years and has the support of many area boating & kayak enthusiasts. The US & Lake Murray Power Squadron, Columbia Sail Club, DNR, and Lex. Cty. Sheriff’s Marine Task Force assists in promoting the event, as well as ensuring the safety of the swimmers across the lake. Columbia Fire and Rescue Squad recently joined the event to provide first aid and rescue on the lake, if needed. Numerous kayakers from Palmetto Paddlers and individuals volunteer their time to paddle with the groups as they cross the lake.
The LHS Dam Swim for Drew began raising funds for an indoor pool where people of all ages can learn to swim.  Many of our high school swimmers are also year-around swimmers. Since there is no regulation pool for year-around swimming in Lexington, swimmers must travel to the YMCA in Irmo, the University of South Carolina, Harbison Recreation Center, or Columbia College to practice. All of our swimmers realize they will never have the opportunity to compete in this pool, but they understand it is a necessity for future generations. The bottom line is, raising money for an indoor pool in Lexington is one way the LHS swimmers can contribute to their community as well as reminding all that alcohol takes lives from young and old whether on land or in the water.