German Professor to Swim and Analyze the Entire Tennessee River

Dr. Andreas Fath takes a sample from the Rhine River

“TenneSwim will make people aware of their influence on the river and how small changes in behavior will have a big, positive effect on water quality.” – Dr. Andreas Fath

After breaking the world record for speed swimming the Rhine River from the Swiss Alps to the North Sea in 2014, Dr. Andreas Fath, Professor of Medical and Life Sciences at Furtwangen University in Germany, is preparing for another endurance challenge on the Tennessee River.

Dubbed TenneSwim, Fath’s second “swim for science” will see him swim the entire waterway from late July through August. Fath will conduct daily analyses along his route to determine how water quality in the Tennessee River compares to the Rhine. This project will be the most extensive interdisciplinary water quality survey ever conducted of North America’s most biologically diverse river.

“Water pollution is not only a result of the industrial use of water but also a result of unconscious consumer behavior,” Fath says. “TenneSwim and the outcome will make people aware of their influence. Small changes in their behavior will have a big, positive effect on water quality.”

At 652 miles, the Tennessee River is 112 miles shorter than the Rhine, but its significantly slower current will pose an even greater challenge for Fath. If completed as planned, his swim will break another world record.

TenneSwim begins July 27 at Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville and is organized in partnership with 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…

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