Ben Tuff’s swimming journey began over ten years ago when he made the decision to turn away from drinking for sobriety.
Tuff learned how to swim at a young age for water safety, but did not pursue swimming as a sport until becoming sober. His sponsor was a marathon runner and triathlete, who inspired his interest in the sport.
Over seven years after embarking on his swimming journey, he took up marathon swimming. His first swim was 23 miles around Conanicut Island in the Narragansett Bay, which he followed with a 19-mile swim from Block Island to Beavertail Point in 2021. His endeavors caught the attention of Olympian Elizabeth Beisel, who met with Tuff before she headed to Tokyo as a reporter in 2021.
In July of 2022, Tuff set out to accomplish what no one had done before–swim the 25-mile length of the Narragansett Bay from Providence, Rhode Island, to Jamestown to raise money for Clean Ocean Access. With the help of his support team, Tuff completed the swim in 15 hours, and raised nearly $100,000 for the non-profit.
Tuff is now a motivational speaker who shares his story of his journey with sobriety and swimming in hopes of inspiring others to overcome their personal challenges.
To him, swimming has played an essential role in overcoming his alcohol addiction. In an interview with The Brunswick News, he said, “In the beginning, swimming was a struggle to stay afloat. Now swimming for me is my escape. As I improved my skills I finally learned that that’s where I did my praying. That’s where I did my thinking. That’s where I let it out.”
Tuff’s story was picked up by filmmaker Matt Corliss, who collaborated with Tuff on a documentary to share his story. The documentary has not yet been released, but you can view the trailer here:
I LOVE these stories!
There is nothing but TRUE GRIT in them, and they ring the bell in my own life!!