It’s Back!! The Annual Swim for Smiles Youth Triathlon Returns for 2015


Annual Swim for Smiles Youth Triathlon Returns to Chapel Hill

Founder’s Daughter to Assume Race Director Position

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The Swim for Smiles Foundation is proud to announce that it will once again hold its annual Swim for Smiles Youth Triathlon in Chapel Hill, N.C. The 2015 event will be Annabelle Kayye’s first event as the SFS Race Director, a title SFS co-founder Gary Kayye, her father, is proud to pass along to her.

Gary Kayye co-founded the Swim for Smiles Foundation as a way to give back to N.C. Children’s Hospital after his daughter, Annabelle, spent nine weeks in and out of area children’s hospitals battling a serious illness when she was just four years old.

“I couldn’t be prouder that my daughter stepped-up and asked if she could become a race director for the 2015 event,” Kayye said. “There’s probably nobody better to take the helm as she has not only raced in virtually every event we’ve held, but she’s also participated in nearly every meeting, set up, teardown and event planning session we’ve ever had.”

cancel-pic2Last year, the foundation had to regretfully cancel the long running annual youth event due to unforeseen circumstances, however this year, the race is back! The ultimate goal is to provide the highest quality race possible and the foundation is committed to providing the best race Chapel Hill has seen.

The 8th Swim for Smiles Youth Triathlon will be held on August 30th and will be open to kids ages 5-17 and is a USA-Triathlon sanctioned event, which includes two courses, a short course and long course for all levels of participants. In addition, a limited number of relay teams will be open to participants.

We will unveil the exact location on May 6th when we open officially open registration. The 2015 race will only be available to the first 300 kids that register. For more information about the Swim for Smiles Foundation, please visit

About the Swim for Smiles Foundation
The Swim for Smiles Foundation was founded by Gary Kayye and Laura Gondek in 2005 and is based in Chapel Hill, N.C. The organization is an all volunteer based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization benefitting N.C. Children’s Hospital by hosting annual youth events.

The Sharks Continue to Donate

1231116_10151844173512884_1957172636_nWacky Relay Day, previously Swim for Life, has been a Chapel Hill Summer Swim League tradition for the past few years. Since its inception, the event has raised thousands, thanks to the hard working kids, volunteers and the number of teams involved in the summer swim league. Unfortunately, this year the annual event was canceled; however, that did not stop the Chapel Hill Country Club/Ridgewood Sharks from raising money. Under the direction of Laura Brader-Araje and other Shark parents, the team raised over $2200 in just two days for the Swim for Smiles Foundation.

“Our team feels so proud to have raised these funds and contributed this year even with the cancelation of the event,” said Laura Brader-Araje. It was with the help of all the families, the team, the coaches and the kids through which we were able to raise the money.

In order to continue the tradition to help the Chapel Hill community, the Sharks swim team held Sharkapalooza earlier this month. The event helped raise $960 through a festival and fun-night after practice. In addition, Mark Sperry of TCBY in Chapel Hill hosted a Coaches Scoop at TCBY. The coaches scooped ice cream for their swimmers and Sperry donated a percentage of the night’s profits, totaling $94.

“It is amazing what you can do in only two day and four total fundraising hours,” said Brader-Araje. “It really is so simple and we were happy to help.”

The Swim for Smiles Foundation has been a part of the Brader-Araje family since the foundation’s beginning. For the past five years, you could always find the Brader-Araje name on the participant list for the annual Swim for Smiles Youth Triathlon. In fact, Zoe Brader-Araje is now nationally ranked in the USA-T standings thanks to SFS for introducing her to the sport of triathlon racing.

“Swim for Smiles and Gary Kayye introduced our family to swimming and triathlon racing,” said Brader-Araje. “It is a large part of our family life now and for that we are so grateful.”

brader-arajeThroughout the years, Laura, her family and The Michael and Laura Brader-Araje Foundation have been constant supporters of SFS. In 2011 the Brader-Arajes donated a significant amount to help support that year’s annual youth triathlon. Also, this year the foundation matched the funds raised by Sharkapalooza and the Coached Scoop at TCBY.

This year SFS unfortunately had to cancel the annual youth triathlon.

“We are deeply sadden by having to cancel this year’s event,” said SFS co-founder, Gary Kayye. “The decision did not come easily. However, SFS does plan on working with local schools to integrate a mandatory “learn-to-swim” program for all kids and we hop to gain support for these efforts.”

Since its inception, SFS has raised over $100,000 for N.C. Children’s Hospital, but not without the time and dedication from numerous volunteers. SFS would like to thank Laura Brader-Araje and The Michael and Laura Brader-Araje Foundation for their years of support. And a huge thank you to all of those who have donated to the Swim for Smiles Foundation over the years. Whether it be time, donations or participation in our annual youth triathlon, we know SFS would not exist without your efforts.

Important Announcement About the 8th Annual Swim for Smiles Youth Triathlon


It is with heavy hearts and and much regret that we must announce the cancelation of the 2014 Swim for Smiles Youth Triathlon, originally scheduled for September 7, 2014.

The Swim for Smiles Foundation is an all-volunteer non-profit that was established in 2005 for the purpose of raising money for N.C. Children’s Hospital through kids’ athletic events and our youth triathlon has become our flagship event. In fact, our triathlon has been recognized three times, by the readers of Endurance Magazine, as their favorite youth event in North Carolina and have been recognized by USA Triathlon as the primary driver for the growth of youth triathlon in the state.

However, in the past two years, nine new youth triathlons have launched in and around the Triangle area and, being a non-profit run by volunteers that mostly also have unrelated full time jobs, we can’t compete with for-profit triathlons run by paid staff. Based on current registrations, we would likely lose $22,000 to $28,000 this year if we held the event.

All the volunteers here at Swim for Smiles are deeply saddened by having to cancel this year’s event and the decision to cancel did not come easily. We agonized over for weeks and attempted to find a financial partner or sponsor to help defray the costs, but the economic conditions of the past few years have put a strain on everyone.

However, we are not disappearing. The Swim for Smiles Foundation plans on working with the the local schools to integrate a mandatory “learn to swim” program for all kids. Over 3000 kids drown each year in the US alone. We hope you will support our efforts to implement such a life-saving program.

And, for those of you looking for a local youth triathlon to participate in in lieu of our event, please consider the Tar Heel Youth Triathlon. We know the organizers personally and they put on a top-notch event.

Thank you,

The Swim for Smiles Foundation

Thank You, from The Swim for Smiles Foundation

On behalf of the Swim for Smiles Foundation, THANK YOU for participating in our 7th Annual Youth Triathlon. We hope your EXPERIENCE was as awesome as you hoped it would be. We had a great time putting the event on again this year, we loved the new venue and we hope you’ll go ahead and SAVE THE DATE for our 2014 event: Sunday, September 7, 2014.

RACE RESULTS: In case you haven’t taken a look, they’re here.

PHOTOS: We shot nearly 1500 photos during the race! And, instead of selling them to you, we’ve decided to make them available for FREE. So, we’ve posted them ALL inside Two Albums on our Facebook site. When you go to the site, click on PHOTOS and then ALBUMS and you will see two 7th Annual Swim for Smiles Youth Triathlon albums.sfs7-thumb6-2

sfs7-thumb4-2And, while you’re there, will you PLEASE take a second to click the LIKE button on the right side of the page, just under the Cover Photo. Feel free to grab any photo you’d like and repost it in your Facebook photo album or even TAG anyone you know in a photo!

sfs7-thumb5-2Not a Facebook User? Good news: We’ve made our site OPEN so that even if you’re not a member of Facebook, you can view or grab any photo from either of the two albums!

PRESS COVERAGE: We’ve received a lot of press coverage this year – and nearly all of it includes photos of kids in our race – so go check it out. It can all be found here.

Our Survey: We have a survey that will take two minutes to fill out. This will help us make our 8th annual event even better! The survey is here.

DONATE: In case you’re interested in donating to the Swim for Smiles Foundation (a 501c3 non-profit foundation), go here.

Swim for Smiles would like to thank our sponsors for supporting the 2021 future Youth Triathlon competitors!


7th Annual Youth Triathlon in the News!

Our 7th Annual Youth Triathlon was a huge success and we could not be happier with the results! It was a beautiful day at our brand new location, Briar Chapel and with hundreds of kids swimming, biking and running, what could be better?

We were recently featured by local and regional news outlets in North Carolina. Thank you to all of those who have helped spread the word about our organization and the annual youth triathlon.

Here are the stories we have found:

Chapel Hill News

The Chapel Hill News published this story covering our event: Youth, charity served at Chapel Hill triathlon. Read the full story here.

News 14 Carolina

News 14 Carolina’s Carly Swanson came out early Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013 and captured the true heart and sole of our organization and the triathlon. Find her story and watch the video here.

News & Observer

The News & Observer’s Kyle Janher took some amazing photos from the event and wrote up a great piece as well: Youth, charity served at Chapel Hill triathlon. Find his story and view all of his pictures here.

Chapel Hill Magazine and THE WEEKLY

Chapel Hill Magazine and THE WEEKLY recently featured us in its People & Places section.
The feature originally appears here.

All Smiles


The seventh annual Swim for Smiles youth triathlon was held Sunday at Briar Chapel and raised tens of thousands of dollars for N.C. Children’s Hospital. About 520 children ages 5 to 19 biked, swam and ran for a good cause. The event has grown each year since its inception and raised more than $200,000 total. See all CHM’s photos from the event here.



Chapelboro’s SP Murray came out and got some great photos of both participants and families at the finish line festival this year. See the slideshow of the photos here.


If you don’t see your news story here, please email

7th Annual Youth Triathlon Results

First, thank you to all of those who participated in the 7th Annual Swim for Smiles Youth Triathlon! It was a great race day!

The results from today’s race will be live at 3:20pm and can be found here.

We will also have a PDF version uploaded to the website later in the week.

Again, thank you for a great race day and we can’t wait until next year!

-The Swim for Smiles Foundation

Important Message to Participants & Parents

SFS Youth Triathlon Participant E-Mail #10

Important Message for all Swim for Smiles Youth Triathlon participants and parents:

At Packet Pickup tonight, we got a couple questions about our race location, which is different from years past. Briar Chapel is a neighborhood in Chapel Hill — it is not related to or anywhere near Brier Creek in Durham. The two are about 45 minutes apart, so it’s important you know which one you’re going to so you don’t accidentally miss the race!

Briar Chapel neighborhood in Chapel Hill is down 15-501 past Southern Village, if you’re driving towards Pittsboro.

The address of the pool/clubhouse area is:

1600 Briar Chapel Parkway
Chapel Hill, NC 27516

A map to the location of the race site can be found here.

You can also find more maps, including the Parking Map, on our website here.

See you Sunday!

-The Swim for Smiles Foundation

Swim Order & Race Number Announced for Sunday’s Youth Triathlon

Here is the swim order for our 2013 Youth Triathlon this Sunday (in order by Last Name): Open the PDF by clicking here
Here is the swim order for our 2013 Youth Triathlon this Sunday (in order by Bib Number): Open the PDF by clicking here

Reminder of packet pick-up times:
-Friday 5-7pm at Fleet Feet in Carrboro
-Saturday 5-7pm at Fleet Feet in Carrboro
-Sunday at the race site from 6:30am-7:30am

Packet Pick-Up

When Do I Get My Race Number and Other Race Materials?

We are only two days away, that’s right, TWO days away from the 7th Annual Swim for Smiles Youth Triathlon!
In order to accommodate as many participants as possible, we have three different packet pick-up times this year:

  • Friday, Sept. 6, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. @ Fleet Feet Carrboro
  • Saturday, Sept. 7, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. @ Fleet Feet Carrboro
  • Sunday, Sept. 8, 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m. @ Briar Chapel (by the Club House)

We will have SFS volunteers at all three packet pick-ups to answer any questions you have may have about the packets, body marking, race day and anything else you can think of! We’re so excited about this year’s race and hope you are too! See you this weekend!

Fleet Feet Carrboro directions can be found here.

CHM’s Weekend Best Bets

We’ve made Chapel Hill Magazine’s Weekend Best Bets!

This weekend’s best bets originally appears here.

Photo by: Briana Brough

Photo by: Briana Brough

Sabrina and Sydney Thompson at the 2012 Swim for Smiles Youth Triathlon.

Sunday, September 8

8am: The seventh annual Swim for Smiles Youth Triathlon – held for the first time in the fall – offers a new, wider course in Briar Chapel to accommodate more participants. Registration ($65-$150) is open to kids ages 5-18 and includes short- and long-course options, plus a limited number of relay teams. All money goes to the North Carolina Children’s Hospital. Visit the website or call (919) 969-7501 for more information.