If you’ve ever wanted to see a few of your elected leaders half-naked and battling it out against each other in a pool, today is your chance. But don’t worry, it’s for a good cause.
County Commissioner Xavier Suarez and City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff are set to take on City Commissioner Francis Suarez and “Cocaine Cowboys” Director Billy Corben in a good, old-fashioned relay race in the pool — all to raise money to eliminate swim admissions (which are $1 for kids and $3 for adults) at Virrick Park. Each contender pledged $1,000 and attendees can sponsor a team to raise additional funds. County Commissioner Suarez and South Miami Commissioner Gabriel Edmond will also swim at Murray Park to eliminate similar admission costs.
“There’s very few recreational activities as it is, and charging kids and adults to use a public pool is unacceptable,” says County Commissioner Suarez. “I decided to challenge Sarnoff, and then we got my son Francis and Billy involved.”
Corben told the New Times he looks forward to seeing the commissioners come out and do something for the kids in the community. “Whenever I’m asked to participate in charity, I say yes,” Corben says. "But now it also gives me a chance to call them out on how they don’t spend enough time or money on public spaces and activities that keep kids off the streets.”
In terms of winning and losing, City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff is confident he won’t be a part of the latter. “Xavier made a challenge, and I responded to that challenge,” Sarnoff said. “There’s no way I’ll lose.”
According to Corben, there’s rumor that both Sarnoff and County Commissioner Suarez have experience in college-level sports – Sarnoff with swimming and Suarez with basketball. “There’s a lot of athleticism on that side, meaning Francis and I really have to step it up,” Corben says. “But I really don’t know how to prepare for this. I haven’t swam competitively since literally childhood. I’ve heard waxing from your nose to your toes increases speed though.”
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There’s not much information on rules and regulations for the relay, but there is allegedly a strict “no Speedo” policy. “I’m not going to lie, this whole thing is a little weird,” Corben says. “I can say this is a first for me, but I’m not sure if the commissioners swim together on their own time.”
The event is from noon to 1 p.m. and open to the public, in case you want to verify that no Speedo rule for yourself. Extra funds raised will go toward added park enhancements for the community
“As nice as it is to see this happening, the commissioners need to do a lot more to make sure it doesn’t come to this,” Corben says. “Why do we have to raise money for a public park that the city should be funding in general?”