On January 12, 2020, Admiral Farragut Academy lower school teacher and avid swimmer, Maren Lynch, swam 3.1 miles across the Tampa Bay for the Tampa Bay Frogman swim “Never Leave a Man Behind” charity event benefiting the Navy Seal Foundation. This is the second time she has participated and she earned 7th in the female finishers.
Each year a swimmer represents a fallen soldier, and this year she represented Petty Officer 2nd Class Seal Danny P. Dietz. Here is the information provided by the Navy Seal Foundation about her soldier.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Seal Danny P. Dietz sustained mortal wounds in a fierce firefight with Taliban forces in the Kunar Province of eastern Afghanistan on June 28, 2005. He was part of a four-man Navy Seal element that had clandestinely infiltrated the Hindu Kush mountains in search of a high-value Taliban target. The element was conducting reconnaissance when their position was compromised and ambushed by overwhelming Taliban forces. The ensuing firefight lasted over an hour and claimed the lives of 3 of the 4 Seals. The MH-47 Chinook Helicopter carrying the quick reaction force sent to the team’s aid was shot down, killing all 16 passengers on board. A total of 11 Seals and 8 Army Night Stalkers died that day in the global war on terror.
Lynch wrote this moving message on her Facebook page the night before the swim.
“Petty Officer 2nd Class Seal Danny P. Dietz. I had not heard of this amazing young man until tonight. He gave the ultimate sacrifice for us.
That day that Petty Officer 2nd Class Seal Danny Dietz died is also my birthday. We were already connected before I learned his name. Petty Officer 2nd Class Seal Danny P. Dietz. I will say it over and over and it will never leave my memory. Petty Officer 2nd Class Seal Danny P. Dietz. I will be swimming in his honor and representing his life and his family that gave more than I ever could. There will be points in my swim where I will be asking for his strength and his guidance. When I get to the part of the swim where the current becomes strong and I want to stop swimming, I will be asking for his help once more. When I finish, I will thank him for fighting for the freedoms that I experience every day. I will think of his family and what they lost on June 28, 2005.
Thank you to all that have donated funds to the Navy Seal Foundation to help the families of these amazing men and put me over my fundraising goal. Thank you to all that have called, texted, or messaged me with wishes of luck and love. I will keep you all posted after the swim on the results.”
Lynch raised $2,920 of her $2,000 goal from 40 people in 4 months. All of the funds go directly back to the foundation and its mission to provide a comprehensive set of programs specifically designed to improve health and welfare, build and enhance resiliency, empower and educate families and provide critical support during times of illness, injury, loss and transition.
Lynch also swam the race in 2018
On January 21, 2018, Admiral Farragut Academy 2nd grade teacher and avid swimmer, Maren Lynch, swam 3.1 miles across the Tampa Bay for the Tampa Bay Frogman swim “Never Leave a Man Behind” charity event benefiting the Navy Seal Foundation.
Each swimmer represented a fallen soldier.
“I swam for 22-year-old Navy Seal Tyler Trahan EOD2 from East Freetown, Massachusetts,” said Maren. “Tyler was deployed with his east coast-based seal team in Taqaddum, Iraq and was killed on April 30, 2009, while conducting combat operations. Two marines were also killed during this operation.”
In order to participate in this charity event, swimmers were asked to raise a minimum of $1,500 with a total fundraising goal of $700,000. Maren used a fundraising website where others could donate and she could share her thoughts as she prepared for the race. Overall, Maren was able to raise $2,510 for the foundation.
“This was the most emotional event I have participated in and the most difficult swim I have ever done,” said Maren who, in the past, has participated in the Lido Key race that was 7-miles long and a 12-mile relay around the island of Key West. “It was not the longest swim, but the cold water, the wetsuit, and ridiculously-strong current made this more challenging to me than any I have done in the past. I even asked for Tyler’s help when I got scared.”
Along with Tyler figuratively by her side, Maren also had the help of a kayaker and close family friend, Craig Mallon. “Craig was in charge of keeping me in line, both directionally and mentally,” explained Maren. “He is a long time friend, best friend to my husband, and God Father to my one of my children; I am so grateful for him.”
Although the conditions were tough, Maren swam well and arrived at Picnic Island with a time of 1:26. Out of 175 participants, 25 of which were female, she earned 4th overall female and 34th overall.
“I am humbled and honored to have swum for Tyler, and proud that I was able to give back to his family and other families who have lost their loved one,” said Maren.