World Record Attempt To Swim, Survey Tennessee River Comes To Chattanooga

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Dr. Andreas Fath is attempting a world record swim and survey of the entire 652-mile Tennessee River and will be in Chattanooga on Thursday. 

He will be nearly 182 miles downstream from the starting point with 470 miles to swim before reaching Paducah, Ky. 

Dr. Fath is a world-record-holding endurance swimmer and professor of Medical and Life Sciences at Furtwangen University in Germany. 

A TenneSwim presentation will be held in the Tennessee Aquarium’s River Journey Auditorium on Thursday at 7 p.m. 

The purpose of the swim and survey is to raise awareness about the importance of water quality, collect data on the Tennessee River, compare the Tennessee data to Rhine River data and attempt another world record. 

Dr. Fath will discuss the science behind his record-breaking attempt to swim the entire length of the Tennessee River during this special presentation in the Tennessee Aquarium’s River Journey Auditorium. This program coincides with National Water Quality Month (August) and the Tennessee Aquarium’s participation in the Aquarium Conservation Partnership’s “In Our Hands” public awareness campaign regarding single-use plastics. Among the various pollutants and pharmaceuticals collected in the river water samples he’s collecting, Dr. Fath and his team will measuring the amount of micro-plastics flowing downstream each day.

This isn’t the first time the professor of Medical and Life Sciences at Furtwangen University in Germany has taken on a river. In 2014 he broke the world record for speed swimming the Rhine River from the Swiss Alps to the North Sea. 

Dubbed TenneSwim, Dr. Fath’s second “swim for science” will last through nearly the end of August. His research will ultimately be a comparative study of water quality in the Tennessee River compared to the Rhine. 

Data collected will increase knowledge about the quality and health of the Tennessee River, as well as raise public awareness of water quality in the Tennessee River basin. This project will be the most extensive interdisciplinary water quality survey ever conducted of North America’s most biologically diverse river. 

U.S. partner organizations include the University of the South, the Tennessee Aquarium, The Nature Conservancy, the University of Georgia River Basin Center, Ijams Nature Center, the River Discovery Center of Paducah, Tennessee State Parks, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. 

Dr. Fath will be joined by a group of Chattanooga Open Water Swimmers for the last two miles of swimming into downtown Chattanooga. The public is invited to meet Dr. Fath at the top of the Chattanooga Pier after his arrival, on Friday at 1:30 p.m.

 


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