Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Chris Ring has gone through 6 wetsuits on his 6-month stage swim down the Mississippi River through the heartland of America.

His 2,350-mile (3782 km) charity swim started on June 6th and has taken him 6-8 hours per day covering 14-20 miles 6 days per week. His motivation is to help support the charitable organization Legacies Alive that raises awareness and funding for America’s fallen service members and their surviving Gold Star Families.

His last stage is held today, a 3-mile swim from Mile Marker 3 in Pilottown, Louisiana to Mile Marker 0 at the Head of Passes in Louisiana that marks where the Mississippi River meet the Gulf of Mexico. His Swim for Their Sacrifice started much further north in Minnesota from Lake Itasca [see below] and is sponsored by Legacies Alive, an organization supporting families of soldiers killed in combat.

You never know what to expect on the river. It can be calm one day and stormy the next. The water can be warm one day and freezing cold the next. One memorable day, we were in a section of the river about three miles wide and a storm rolled in. I couldn’t see more than 20 feet in front of me and had to deal with some pretty big waves. I could feel the lighting hit the water somewhere ahead.

[But] It’s not about setting a record, it’s about bringing awareness to our fallen heroes, and connecting as many of their families as possible. I think about that a lot while I’m swimming.”

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association