Daniel Zin (Photo courtesy of Lake Erie Challenge)

Southwest Ontario man swims for Lake Erie

An Ontario swimmer took part in the swim of his life over the weekend.

The water has always been a passion of Daniel Zin’s, but on Saturday he tackled the open water in the name of a prominent cause, Lake Erie. Zin participated in the annual Lake Erie Challenge, a marathon swim designed to call attention to the issues surrounding the lake.

The challenge was a 30-kilometre open-water swim between Long Point and Port Dover in Norfolk County. According to the Canadian Freshwater Alliance, which oversaw the challenge, it was the first time swimmers tackled a straight course.

Zin had expected to dive on August 24, but rough water postponed the swim until Saturday.

Zin, 34, of Port Dover, said he did the swim because Lake Erie is facing a whole variety of challenges.

“If you look at the southwest basin, you have the blue-green toxic algae, which is basically suffocating the oxygen stores in the water and depleting the ecosystem, and not to mention that it’s killing dogs that are drinking from the water, and it’s bad for people,” said Zin.

Working with his coach, Josh Reid, Zinn prepared for the challenge with a series of four-kilometre open swims and a 10-kilometre swim, so the Saturday event was his biggest one to date.

“I was looking for a challenge,” said Zin. “I kind of fell in love with open-water swimming a couple of years ago, and I just love it. The more I can be in the water, the better. I wanted to set a goal that was kind of local, to make some sort of a crossing.”

The marathon took him almost ten hours.

“It was a wild ride,” he said. “I was going on no sleep, and neither did anyone on my team. It was quite phenomenal.”

Zin is still collecting pledges for his swim.

“We’re all living beside blue gold, and it’s high time we started treating it that way,” he said.

– With files from Adelle Loiselle.