He's Backstroking to Block Island
Trent Theroux, 44, of Barrington plans to backstroke 13 miles to Block Island on Saturday, Sept. 8, to raise money for spinal cord injuries.
A Barrington man's attempt to swim on his back to Block Island from Point Judith tomorrow, Sept. 8, to raise money for spinal cord injuries is still a go. It will come on the 10th anniversary of the night in Narragansett Bay that almost cost him his life.
Trent Theroux, 44, will swim 13 miles over 7 hours using three different backstrokes in his “Back to Block” swim, according to the Boston Globe, his own website, backtoblock.org/, and two videos above.
His goal is to raise $50,000 for the Boston-based RISE Above Paralysis. He said he was "just past $30,000" as of late Thursday afternoon.
Theroux picked a neap tide -- the least amount of current -- to swim from the Point Judith lighthouse to Block Island. But he still expects to see 4 to 6 foot waves, Theroux said Thursday afternoon.
Theroux leaves at 6:20 am -- sunrise, he said. He will be accompanied by a crew in two boats, including a doctor who will examine him several times during the swim. He expects to arrive on Block Island between 1 and 2 pm.
"We have a solid safety plan to protect me and my crew," Theroux said.
Still, he said, his wife is very concerned and the stress has been growing as the date neared.
"I will call it off with certain conditions," he said. "It all depends on the waves and the surf."
Theroux was in his kayak at about 9:30 pm on a bright night on Narragansett Bay on Sept. 8, 2002, when a motorboat headed straight for him. He tried to dive out of the kayak to get under the boat. It didn’t work.
The blades of the motor slashed through his back, severing all the major muscles on the left side of his back and cutting into five bones in his spinal column. See the two videos above to hear him talk about the accident.
When Theroux surfaced, he couldn’t move his legs or his left arm. The boat first seemed to speed away but then it turned around and picked him up. He was rushed to Rhode Island Hospital, where he was treated for possible paralysis. His spinal cord was not severed, but Theroux still had to learn to walk again.
Theroux said he is in very good shape although he is still not fully recovered from the accident. He is swimming to Block Island, though, "because of the accident" to make people aware of spinal injuries and the costs not covered by health insurance.
Theroux said he's also doing it because "it's never been done before, never attempted."
Theroux vowed to do some amazing things after the accident: run a marathon, climb a skyscraper, do an Ironman Triathlon and backstroke to Block Island. In 2005, three years after the accident, according to the Globe, Theroux ran the Bay State Marathon. In 2006, he completed an Ironman in Panama City, Fla. In 2009, he raced with others up 30 floors of a skyscraper in Providence.
Now, tomorrow, on the 10th anniversary of his accident, Theroux will check off the final thing on his list: the backstroke to Block Island.