MOWSA and BLS Staff

The Boston Light Swim has a lengthy history and has passed through the capable hands of several race directors down the ages, including legendary New England marathon swimmer Jim Doty, who revived the swim in 1976 after a three-decade hiatus. Since 2008, Greg O'Connor and Elaine K. Howley have co-directed the annual 8-mile race across Boston Harbor. In 2010, Greg founded the Massachusetts Open Water Swimming Association, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit to further expand our mission of encouraging marathon swimming in and around Massachusetts' waterways. We are pleased to be able to contribute our volunteer efforts to the lengthy tradition of open water swimming in New England with the assistance of a strong, core team.

BLS and DOTY SWIM Race directors

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Greg O'Connor

MOWSA Founder and President
Boston Light Swim Co-Director

A lifelong swimmer, Greg O'Connor competed on the varsity team at Gettysburg College. He retired from swimming after graduation, but several years later, dismayed by middle-aged spread, he decided it was time to get back in the water. He set his sights on completing the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim in Maryland, and before long, he was hooked on open water. He soon decided to see whether he could go farther, and in 2006, he completed his first Boston Light Swim. From there, he's gone on to complete a solo crossing of the Catalina Channel, a solo loop around Manhattan Island, a double Boston Light Swim, a solo cross-Cape Cod Bay swim, and in 2018 he completed all seven stages of NYOW's 8 Bridges Swim down the Hudson. He was the first person to complete the cross-Massachusetts Bay Swim. When he's not swimming, he works as a cancer research scientist and is raising his son Finnian with his wife Wendy.

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Elaine K. Howley

MOWSA Vice President
Boston Light Swim Co-Director

Elaine began marathon swimming after meeting Greg at the pool in the early 2000s. He casually asked her if she'd be interested in training for an 8-mile swim in the Harbor. Having just finished grad school, Elaine was looking for a new challenge and returning to her open water swimming roots--she had lifeguarded for several summers on the New Jersey shore--seemed just the ticket. The 2006 race was a huge success and she swam again in '07 and '08. She holds the record for the fastest BLS Double (set in 2010 as part of a tandem solo with Greg). She's also completed the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming, a solo length of Loch Ness, and was the first person to swim the 32-mile length of Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho.When she's not swimming, Elaine is a freelance journalist, writer, and editor whose work appears frequently in Outdoor Swimmer and SWIMMER magazines. She lives in Waltham with her husband, Mark, and two cats.

BLS Organizing Committee

Alana Aubin, Boat and Social Media Support

Rick Born, Logistics Support

Rena Demeo, Food and Beverage Wrangler

Mina Elnaccash, Boat Wrangler

Mina was a pool swimmer until 2008 when she took the plunge at the Wild Fish 1-mile swim in Salem, making her an instant open water convert. A software project manager in EdTech by day, she daydreams about her next marathon open water DNFs (somehow her favorite swims!), visiting new breweries, and competitive cooking with her partner, Kris.

Mark Howley, Volunteer Wrangler

Kellie Latimer, Volunteer Communications

Kellie learned how to swim in the chilly waters of Casco Bay, Maine. After 15 years competing in the pool and a brief detour into the world of triathlon, she discovered marathon swimming. Her most recent accomplishment was completing a Boston Light Swim Double in June of 2019.

Ricky Sweeney, Permitting and Site Coordination

Rick Sweeney is a life-long South Bostonian who is enjoying his current state of non-employment after spending over 38 years as an Information Technology professional. Rick is an outdoorsman who'll never refuse an offer to go on an adventure if it includes Irish Whiskey and/or beer. Rick enjoys open water swimming. He’s participated in the Boston Light Swim six times, and has participated in many marathon swims as a support kayaker.

Mark Howley (volunteer wrangler), Elaine Howley (race director) and Greg O'Connor (race director) enjoy a beer at the 2018 pre-race dinner, courtesy of our 2018 beer sponsor, Castle Island Brewing Company.   Photo by Jon Washer

Mark Howley (volunteer wrangler), Elaine Howley (race director) and Greg O'Connor (race director) enjoy a beer at the 2018 pre-race dinner, courtesy of our 2018 beer sponsor, Castle Island Brewing Company.
Photo by Jon Washer