Three men swim Lake Erie, two set record

Swimmers travel 24.3 miles from Ontario to Pennsylvania

NORTH EAST, Pa. -- Three men swam from Long Point, Ontario to Freeport Beach in North East on Monday.

Two brothers, Tom Van Volkenburg, 28, of Charlotte, NC and Greg Van Volkenburg, 33, of Houston, broke a record for the 24.3 mile-course across Lake Erie.

They got in the Canadian waters at 7:04 a.m. and arrived at the beach at 6:20… an 11 hour, 15 minute and 40 second-journey, which beat the previous record by just one minute.

The previous record-holder, Josh Heynes, said, "This is the most interesting conditions I've ever seen someone swim in."

Greg Van Volkenburg, originally of Erie, said, "It's not an individual that did this. It's a great team effort, all of the volunteers and everybody who helped make this happen."

The Van Volkenburg brothers’ mother, Debbie Van Volkenburg, said, "It's part of their bucket list. And so, they were trying to find a cause and they decided to use the Arthritis Association, because I've had rheumatoid arthritis for 40 years."

As of Monday night, the team had raised more than $5,000 of their $25,000 goal.

Chris Fetcko, the third swimmer, set out at 6:54 a.m. He arrived at about 10:10 p.m.

His father, August Fetcko, said the swim was a big achievement, but he “most proud about… [Chris] dedicating this to the children in Erie who don't have enough to eat."

By the time, Fetcko reached the shore, he had raised nearly $3,000 of his $5,000 goal for Emmaus Ministries’ Kids Cafe.

"He said children and poverty and nutrition was always a concern of his. So, it seemed like a natural fit,” said Sis. Mary Miller, director of the ministry, which oversees the after-school program.

Josh Heynes, director of Lake Erie Open Water Swimming Association, said, “This is the most interesting conditions I’ve ever seen someone swin in.”

Heynes traveled alongside the Van Volkenburgs as they broke the record that he set in 2011.

"Every swim is unique, which is great to see. It's great to see the team camaraderie. The team really comes around these guys...whether is female or male swimmer. And they make sure they get home. That's the most important part that they finish and everyone is safe."

To help the two teams reach their respective goals, visit the following pages:

Swim Lake Erie for Kids Cafe
https://www.gofundme.com/swim-for-kidscafe-erie

Swim for the Cure
http://www.walktocurearthritis.org/Pittsburgh/Swimforthecure
 


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