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Willamette River Lap Swim a smashing success

June 18, 2013

The day started off really EARLY.  We met Drew Carney from News Channel 8 at Sunrise for Out and About with Drew.  It was pretty crazy, but a good start to getting what ended up being a lot of good press for the Willamette River.  I think people really got to see and engage with the river in such a different way.  Most of the time people are either driving the bridges or walking, running or biking the paths next to the river.  I’m sure many never consider getting in the river unless they are in a boat.

I think our little river swim did a lot to help change people’s minds.  Yes, 15 years ago swimming in the Willamette would have been ill advised.  Local non-profits and other organizations have been doing oodles to change that.  Unfortunately people’s perceptions are still 15 years old.  Funny how the brain works and what sticks with us.   The Human Access Project are working to change that.  That is what this 12 hour swim was about.  Get people to own their waterway.  It is the lifeline to the city.  By improving the Willamette’s health and prosperity, we in turn increase our own.  

What was great about this swim for me was to have an endless changing landscape to watch while swimming.  I was able to talk to and engage with the people thank them for coming and answer their questions.    Can’t say that has ever happened on any of my other swims.  I even had a classroom of school children throwing flowers down into the water to cheer me on.  My very own Ice Castles moment.  

Besides the great press, I think some of my friends were really able to comprehend what my sport actually is.  Some came down to cheer me on and said “Oh, you really just swim for 12 hours without stopping.”  Yep that’s what I do.  I guess seeing it in actual time is different than understanding the sport conceptually.  

Take a moment to read some of the great articles that resulted for the Willamette. 

KGW News Channel 8 at Sunrise – Out and About with Drew Carney:

KOIN News 6: 

The Oregonian:

Fox 12 News and a few radio stations came as well, but I can’t find their postings.  If you find them please pass them along.  

Oh and if you are looking for something fun to do in the Willamette this summer consider the following:

The Big Float:  http://thebigfloat.com/ – sponsored by the Human Access Project – www.humanaccessproject.com

The Portland Bridge Swim – http://www.portlandbridgeswim.com/ – 11 miles, 11 bridges and countless memories – relays are accepted!

 

2 Responses to “Willamette River Lap Swim a smashing success”

  1. Sarah Schneiderman says:

    Michelle,

    Your blog post brought tears to my eyes. The big pipe was being installed when Deborah and I left Portland over 5 years ago so we have that old mindset that says to stay out of the Willamette. When I finally do come visit Portland again, it will have to during the summer so I, as an ex-Portlander, can own the river too.

    I will never own it the way you do! You’re my hero.

  2. Gary Macy says:

    Thanks, Michelle for a great story. Keep the blog going. It is great fun to cheer you on at a distance.

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