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Chester County Press

Oxford woman comes in 2nd in Frogman Swim in Annapolis

05/15/2024 10:40AM ● By Betsy Brewer Brantner

Beata Baker is 51 years old and she has no plan to slow down any time soon.

She recently came in second place in the 5K Frogman Swim in Annapolis on April 28, with a time of 1 hour 28 minutes. At her brother-in-law’s urging, she decided it might be a fun thing to do and it raises funds for a good cause.

The Navy Seal Foundation in Annapolis holds fundraisers throughout the nation to raise money in honor of fallen Naval Academy graduates who served as SEALs or special warfare combatants. 

Baker, who hails from Poland and now lives in Oxford, became a U.S. citizen two years ago. She supports all those who have served in the military.

“There were 66 swimmers,” Baker said. “My brother-in-law, Butch Gosling, and I decided we were going to participate. I thought it would be fun. It is not easy to swim 5K, but on a personal level, it like a challenge. The event raises money to support veterans and their families and, as a relatively new U.S. citizen, I appreciate the freedoms we have here. I think about the sacrifices military people make every day to protect the freedoms we have in this country and I want to support them. I saw a lot of young people participating, and I was impressed.”

Baker works for Little League International as a regional director for Europe and Africa. As such, she frequently travels throughout the world. She sees firsthand what the American military does and is only too happy to support them in any way she can.

“My father lives in Western Poland and I know only too well the effects of war,” she said. “We have a lot of U.S. soldiers in Poland. I see the military presence there with my own eyes, when I travel home to see my father. Americans keep peace in the world.”

She added, “While I was swimming, I could see signs commemorating fallen SEALs. One sign I saw was for Navy SEAL Brian Bill, who died in Afghanistan in 2011 at the age of 31 years old. He was super-talented and planning on a bright future. People like him pay the highest price for freedom. I am honored to be able to support anyone in the military. I don’t see the war in Ukraine ending anytime soon. Putin shows no signs of stopping. If anything, he is now threatening to use nuclear weapons. So many countries, like Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and others worry if they will be next. Most people don’t realize the work the U.S military does and the sacrifice they are making to keep other countries free and protect our freedom.”

Like many people who immigrate to the U.S., immigrants are often more patriotic than those born here. Baker’s travels take her to many places on the verge of war. She watches firsthand the horror of war happening to Poland’s neighbor, Ukraine.

When she is not traveling, she can be seen walking her dogs in Oxford. She is a very fast walker and the dogs have to keep up with her. She also swims and does yoga at the Jennersville YMCA.

“With all that is going on in the world swimming and yoga help me relax. I have also gotten into meditation. I have a CALM app and try to meditate for 3 to 8 minutes a couple times a day. I meditate to reduce the stress in my life,” she said.

As a new citizen in this country she is always mindful of how lucky she is to be living here.

“I’ve lived in Oxford for eight years,” she said. “I travel a lot with my job, which can be stressful, especially in the current world climate. I appreciate the freedom of this country every day, and a 5K swim is the least I can do for the military that protects our freedoms. We all need to remind ourselves how lucky we are to live here.”