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SWIMMER COMPLETES CHALLENGING CROSSING TO PROTECT LAKE ERIE
By Suzanne Forcese
Secondary school teacher, Daniel Zin successfully completed a challenging 26.5 km swim in Lake Erie on Saturday, September 7th, 2019 in an effort to raise awareness and funds to protect the lake’s health and environment.
Zin had approached fellow swimmer, friend and coach, Josh Reid in the winter of 2019 with the idea of a big swim to raise awareness about Lake Erie’s health. They collaborated with Canadian Freshwater Alliance to put the pieces together for the event.
WaterToday had the pleasure of speaking with a very tired Zin on Sunday after the all-night swim. Originally scheduled for August 24th, high winds and waves made the original swim too dangerous to attempt and forced Zin and his support team back to shore. “That was really too bad because the first week of school is always a bit of a whirlwind and I had the added stress of the upcoming swim,” Zin said, “now I can get back into the routine, especially since it looked like the swim might be threatened again with a forecast for strong headwinds on Saturday.” Zin and his support crew adjusted their plans, choosing a slightly more sheltered route, starting at Pottahak Island. Zin swam across to Turkey Point and then over to Port Dover. Hoping to take advantage of calmer winds forecast overnight Zin also adjusted the swim’s timing.
WT also spoke with Zin’s coach Josh Reid, who had done the same swim in 2017. “We had been training Dan for night swimming and usually that’s not too bad. The original start time was 43 minutes past midnight. Normally the winds calm down at night but on Saturday there were 1-2 foot waves that did not calm down until about 4:30 am.”
Zin added “It was so dark that I could not see if I would take on water or not when I would be ready to take a breath.” Reid also indicated that since the original swim was rescheduled, Zin’s training period had already peaked and the training for the second swim had to be measured to avoid possible injury. Zin felt because of the weather, his stress levels and just not being at his very peak that “I never once felt 100%. I was tired. My stroke felt out of rhythm. It was quite cold.” Coach Reid however said he looked “relaxed and had a great pace.”
To accomplish his feat, Zin had a support 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 (Ashleigh’s Dad) and safety boat captains Chris and Ken Turner.
“I want to give a big shout-out to my crew. I could not have done it without them,” Zin told WT. “But the most amazing thing – of all the amazing things about this event – was seeing my friend swimming out to meet me in the last mile to guide me in. It was very emotional.”
Funds raised for the swim surpassed the goal of $6000. “I just wanted to use my swim to raise more funds for Lake Erie,”
Would he do it again? In a heartbeat. In fact Daniel Zin is already planning his next swim. “Lake Erie is blue gold. We all depend on her, whether it’s for recreation, commercial fishing, drinking water, the health of the environment – we all value our lake.”
Daniel Zin and Support Crew Photo Courtesy Canadian Freshwater Alliance
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