Aqua-athletes Push Limits to Protect Lake Erie


Several Lake Erie athletes are preparing to push their limits this weekend, attempting a 30km lake crossing from Long Point to Port Dover. The Lake Erie Challenge is being held on Saturday, August 24 to raise awareness and funds to protect Lake Erie and its waterways.

The athletes have teamed up with the Canadian Freshwater Alliance to support the Lake Erie Guardians. Guardians are citizens, groups, and businesses working together to raise awareness and increase concrete actions to protect the lake and its rivers.

Leading the Lake Erie Challenge are Daniel Zin and Tyler Backus, both from Port Dover. Daniel will attempt a 30km swim, starting at the Long Point lighthouse at 7:30 am and ending at the Port Dover lighthouse anywhere from eight to twelve hours later. The Lake Erie Challenge will be three times longer than any of Daniel’s previous open-water swims. To accomplish this feat, Daniel will have a support crew of six, including coach and pace swimmer Josh Reid, pace swimmer, and first aid support Scot Brockbank, support kayakers Rob Smith and Don Bonnet, safety boat captain Curtis Cushing, and support boat captain Jeff Beacham.

Tyler Backus will be joined by Jonah Logan and Josh Austin as they attempt to stand-up paddleboard from Long Point to Port Dover. Their 30km crossing starts at 10 am and will begin at Marina Shores, out to Pottahawk Island, then into Port Dover beach. They should arrive at the Port Dover beach between 2-4pm. Their support boat will be captained by Don Backus.

“There are many urgent problems, from toxic algae blooms to plastics pollution that we absolutely need to tackle if we want to safely swim, fish, and even drink from our lakes and rivers into the future. It is quite inspiring to see these athletes taking the issues so seriously and working to raise awareness,” says Raj Gill, the Great Lakes Program Director with the Canadian Freshwater Alliance.

While fans await the athletes, a welcome festival will take place onshore at the Port Dover beach from 1-4pm. Activities will include yoga classes, environmental and art workshops, a cake-cutting ceremony, live music, a beach clean-up, and free giveaways.

For more information and to make donations, visit

WHAT: Lake Erie Challenge: 30km swim and stand-up paddleboard crossing on Lake Erie

WHEN and WHERE: Saturday, August 24, 2019

  • 7:30 am to approximately 5:30 pm: Swim from Long Point lighthouse to Port Dover lighthouse
  • 10:00 am to approximately 3:00 pm: Stand-up paddle from Marina Shores, Long Point to Port Dover Beach, via Pottahawk Island
  • 1-4pm: On-shore activities at Port Dover Beach


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