The duo swam 24 statute miles in memory of their mother and the arthritis community from Long Point, Ontario, Canada to Freeport Beach, North East Twp, Pennsylvania, USA.
Josh Heynes, founder of the Lake Erie Open Water Swimming Association, describes the crossing. “The brothers swam in Force 2-4 winds with waves that started at 1 foot, continued to build to 2-3 feet with a rogue wave of 4-5 feet. They started at 7:04 am and finished 6:19 pm, setting a new Lake Erie course record of 11 hours 15 minutes.
Their crew consisted of escort pilots John Bauman, Mike Green and Carolyn Bauman, kayakers Kevin Carmisino, John Jackson, Gary Karminski, Ryan Brown, Megan Collins, Laura Vanvolkenburg with their father Thomas Vanvolkenburg.
It was an unassisted marathon swim where they drank large water bottles every hour, but after mile 22, they drank flat Coca-Cola and vanilla icing. They swam together the entire time, sometimes rotating who was on left and who was on right after some feedings on a clear, hazy, hot and humid summer day.
The Lake Erie Open Water Swimming Association is located in Erie, Pennsylvania and has established the proper local contacts for pilots, kayakers, including U.S. Border Patrol and Customs, along with the U.S. Coast Guard that are in charge of Lake Erie. There is an established 24.3-mile course that begins at the Tip of Long Point, Ontario, Canada and ends in North-East Twp, Pennsylvania.”
The brothers, shown together with their mother Debbie above, raised nearly US$120,000 on their record-setting crossing for the Swim For A Cure campaign.
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