Dan Projansky Shoulders A 27-Mile Burden In The END-WET
Dan Projansky finished dead last in the 27-mile (43 km) Extreme North Dakota Watersports Endurance Test (END-WET) yesterday.
But he handicapped himself by swimming the entire distance butterfly down the mighty Red River of the North.
While sighting was a bit earlier, the physicality of bringing both arms forward for 14 hours 30 minutes from Grand Forks, North Dakota to Oslo, Minnesota was excruciatingly difficult.
While the race is open to kayakers (single or double), canoers, surfskiers, stand-up paddle boarders and relay swimmers (with 2-6 members), disbelieving eyes were focused on the butterflyer from Chicago.
Swimming downstream, but most definitely not in a straight line, the event is one of the world’s longest solo swim races (see here) and a true adventure in the American north. “I did it. The whole thing butterfly. I was determined to finish.”
The race directors, Andy Magness and Robert Trauer, did a awesome job. The event is special in that the town really showed interest in it. I truly didn’t expect to do the whole 27 miles, but Robert encouraged me to finish it. He pumped me up the day before.
The river was shallow because of the current heat wave and drought. Underwater visibility was not more then inches. I could not read my watch as the water was so murky. But the water is safe.
I trained hard but I had a long 2-week taper. I really don’t know exactly when I knew I had the chance to finish. I think it was around mile 15 when I hit the wall. My kayaker encouraged me to kick more as he noticed I was dragging. I took a shot of Cyto Carb 2. Boom, I kicked into gear.
The scenery on the river is beautiful. It was like being back in time 175 yrs. like the old west. No cars. No industry. No pollution. I saw a bald eagle and what I thought was a otter. The river was quiet and peaceful. Since I was doing butterfly, I had no stress. I knew I would finish last, so I was able to take in the beauty and just swim. As for the distance; I wanted to finish for the 2 race directors. I owed it to them.”
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