A 34-year-old history and geography teacher is leading his students by example.
Daniel Zin successfully completed a 26.6-kilometre swim in Lake Erie on Saturday.
The effort was part of the Lake Erie Challenge, an annual event where athletes push themselves in the open waters to raise awareness and money to protect the lake’s health.
The swim was originally scheduled for Aug. 24 but high winds and waves made it too dangerous and forced Zin and his support team back to shore.
A forecast for strong headwinds on Saturday threatened to thwart Zin’s second attempt. With the weather forecast in mind, he and his support crew adjusted their plans. Instead of an exposed crossing from the tip of Long Point to Port Dover, they chose a slightly more sheltered route, starting at Pottahawk Island.
Zin swam across to Turkey Point, and then over to Port Dover. He also adjusted the swim’s timing, hoping to take advantage of calmer winds forecast overnight.
Zin began the swim just after midnight and completed it 10 hours later, arriving to welcoming crowds on the beach at Port Dover at 10:41 a.m.
The conditions were better during that window, but swimming through the night presented its own challenges.
“I struggled to find rhythm and just felt tired, cold and drained from the beginning,” said Zin in a media release. “Swimming in the dark meant I couldn’t see the waves coming in at me, and so when I went to breathe, I would inadvertently take in water.”
To accomplish his feat, Zin had the support of a crew of seven, including coach and pace swimmer Josh Reid, pace swimmer Ashleigh Beacham, support kayakers Casey and Don Bonnett, support pontoon boat captain Jeff Beacham, and safety boat captains Chris and Ken Turner.
Having teamed up with the Canadian Freshwater Alliance to raise funds for Lake Erie clean-up and protection efforts, Zin’s swim raised more than $6,000.
For more information and to donate to this cause visit LakeErieChallenge.ca