Dr. Chris Lechner Swims Solo For 95 Miles

Dr. Chris Lechner Swims Solo For 95 Miles

Photos courtesy of NewsChannel 3 from Lake Michigan where Dr. Chris Lechner swam 95 miles (152 km) in a traverse across Lake Michigan.

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Dr. Chris Lechner swam approximately 95 miles, being pushed away from shore towards the end, just short of his goal. But he was satisfied with his efforts swimming from Saturday to Monday.

I am an adventurer. I am a solo swimmer trying to leverage technology and swim for highly personal reasons. I wanted to conquer only one thing…my own fears: Fear of being alone in a huge powerful lake. I accomplished my dream.”

He talks about his adventure swim.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Did you plan to start and finish in the daytime?
Dr. Chris Lechner: I started at sunrise on August 8th at the Wind Point Lighthouse near Racine, Wisconsin with the plan to swim 80 miles to Holland, Michigan.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What sort of illumination did you use at night?
Dr. Chris Lechner: I had Coast Guard approved lights, flood light, flares and sonar reflectors. The shipping lanes took constant vigilance and communication.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What was your feeding cycle?
Dr. Chris Lechner: I carried [all] my food and filtered my water.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Did you use fins or hand paddles or a swim snorkel? What about a hoodie or a neoprene cap?

Dr. Chris Lechner: I was in a wetsuit pulling my LIVE2FISH paddle board. The paddle board was modified by the good people at LIVE SPORTS in Clearwater, Florida to handle the stress of Lake Michigan. It was specially outfitted with a satellite phone, VHF phone, and AIS rescue transponder. I will carry a SPOT GPS device in my wetsuit sending my position to [Jimbo Cottam] and the safety people involve including the Coast Guard. I was supplied with an array of adventure batteries to recharge electronics by PUCK and the ultimate dry bags WATERSHED. I was guided by IOLITE GPS goggles.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How much did you sleep en route, if any? Where did you sleep?
Dr. Chris Lechner: I swam in 4-hour segments and then climbed on the paddle board to eat, drink and do some yoga stretching. I took multiple short naps rather than truly sleep. I transitioned to this new sleep pattern [for a] week.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How did you train for this swim?
Dr. Chris Lechner: Many hours of training and preparation went into this. I carried my food and filtered my water. Hours of preparation went into making this solo crossing as safe as possible.

My training has been unorthodox. I turn 55 on August 18th. I have discovered that cross training is essential for the over 40 athlete. Shoulders simply cannot handle the repetion of the younger athlete swimming thousands of yards a day. Paddle boarding upstream is the best cross training exercise and develops powerful back and abdominal muscles. I have been practicing yoga at Asheville Community Yoga with Michael Greenfield 3-5 times per week. This is the most essential part of my training. I also run 1-2 times per week averaging 6-10 miles for aerobic conditioning. Finally, I work out on my Vasa Trainer swimming machine. I have never been stronger or more flexible.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How were you inspired to do this swim?
Dr. Chris Lechner: My inspiration comes from Thor Heyerdahl author of Kon-Tiki. I devoured this book as a child and have dreamed up my own version on Lake Michigan. I hope to see a flying fish, an inside joke to those who read the book. Louie Zamperini, Diana Nyad and my mother-in-law Lorene Terrell all inspire with their toughness, passion and resiliency.

5 miles to go and the fuzziness of mind is starting to become apparent and the euphoric sense of well-being. I should have been eating and drinking not talking here. I learned my lesson.”

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association