The Boston Light Swim has been organized and co-directed by Greg O'Connor and Elaine K. Howley since 2008. 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.


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. 



Elaine K. Howley

MOWSA Vice President
Boston Light Swim Co-Director

Elaine began marathon swimming after meeting Greg at the pool. He casually asked her if she'd be interested in training for an 8-mile swim in the Harbor. Having just finished graduate 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 set the speed record for the fastest double Boston Light in 2010 (as part of a tandem solo with Greg), and became only the second woman to swim that course. 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 magazine, SWIMMER magazine, U.S. News & World Report, and She lives in Waltham with her husband, Mark, and two cats, Haddie and Hemingway. 

 Elaine, Greg, and the Lucky Duck before the start of their tandem solo Alcatraz crossing, February 2014.  Photo by Mark Howley

Elaine, Greg, and the Lucky Duck before the start of their tandem solo Alcatraz crossing, February 2014.
Photo by Mark Howley