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Patricia Sener is an open water swimmer and environmental activist who lives in Sea Gate at the western end of Coney Island. As co-founder and executive director of CIBBOWS - Coney Island Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers - she swims nine months of the year and runs swim clinics and races including Grimaldo's Mile. "We went from a little group having little goals to supporting each other to have big dreams," says Sener of the 501c3 non-profit, which counts over 20 English Channel swimmers among its members and attracts swimmers from all over the world to its "perfect training grounds." CIBBOWS meets at Grimaldo's Chair, on the beach off Brighton 4th Street, on weekends.
In July 2015, Sener became the first-ever swimmer to cross the 17-mile New York Bight, which was once New York City's dumping grounds and is now home to humpback whales and a major shipping channel. She describes the nurturing crew and mental toughness that got her through the marathon swim. It took more than 11 hours and was a fundraiser for Clean Ocean Action in support of the area's inclusion in the federal government's Clean Ocean Zone (COZ).