Life jackets and swimsuits replaced usual business attire for a group of accountants who left the office Friday afternoon in favor of a quick dip in the Allegheny River.
The group of 30 PwC Pittsburgh employees — 27 swimmers, plus three tagging along in kayaks — paddled between the Roberto Clemente and Andy Warhol bridges and back in an annual show of support for the Against Malaria Foundation, an organization that distributes bed nets to areas of Africa most at risk for the disease.
PwC Pittsburgh has participated in the event, called “Swim for Malaria,” for seven years now, and the group raised roughly $8,000 for the foundation this year, according to Brian Anderson, 28, a senior associate at PwC. There was no minimum fundraising requirement for employees to participate, and those who did buoyed along in life jackets while their co-workers cheered them on from land.
Mr. Anderson, who donned blue swim trunks and a pair of goggles before jumping into the river with colleagues on Friday, said he looks forward to the event every year. He traveled to Guinea with PwC a few years ago on a business trip and saw the impact malaria can have in the region first-hand, prompting what he described as his passion for contributing to the cause of malaria prevention.
“I think we’ve grown awareness [of the issue] in our office,” Mr. Anderson said. “It’s a neat event that has gained a lot of exposure and hopefully gained a footprint, at least, to further the cause.”
The event was a chance for PwC employees to contribute to the fundraising effort while also mixing up their work week. With the sun beating down overhead, the accountants took to the water en masse, bobbing along to the amusement of passers-by. A few swimmers flipped over and tried paddling on their backs.
As Mr. Anderson put it, the spectacle was “very, very different” from his day job. “I don’t swim in the river otherwise — this is my once chance to do it,” he said.
Other PwC employees echoed that sentiment after the swim.
“The water felt great,” said Steve DiTommaso, 28, a manager in audit practice at PwC.
“It’s just a blast to come down here and jump in the river,” added associate Kate Kromka, 23, after coming out of the water. “It felt good on a hot day.”
Madeline R. Conway: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1714 or on Twitter @MadelineRConway