Gannon University Alumnus to Swim Lake Erie

Posted: July 22, 2014

Gannon University undergraduate alumnus and current graduate student, Elliot Spaeder '06, set out to swim the distance of Lake Erie Tuesday, July 22.

After 10 months of training, Spaeder departed from Long Point, Canada around 6 a.m. for a more than 20-mile swim across Lake Erie to North East, Pa. However, as captain of both the swim team and water polo team while at Gannon, Spaeder has become accustomed to the physical demands that swimming entails.

While his initial purpose for the feat may have been for the achievement of accompanying a list of under 20 individuals able to swim across Lake Erie, Spaeder's swim has achieved much more. Through partnership with the Downtown YMCA, where Spaeder first learned to swim, he was able to raise more than $10,000 in donations toward the Downtown Y's programming.

Not only has he made a monetary impact, but Spaeder has also contributed to faculty research at Gannon University through collaboration with sport and exercise science assistant professors, Suzanne Kitts Ph.D., and Kory Stauffer, Ph.D. The Gannon professors have guided Spaeder's nutrition during his training, while also researching various projected levels associated with the duration and length of the swim. Spaeder wore a heart monitor while on the trip across Lake Erie, which Kitts and Stauffer will use to analyze their projections and actual outcomes.

The Gannon University community provided support for Spaeder throughout his journey. Additional Gannon graduates paddled alongside Spaeder in kayaks during his open-water training, and his former water polo coach, Don Sherman, offered messages of encouragement along the way. The Gannon community continued that support and encouragement while welcoming Spaeder back ashore after his triumphant accomplishment.

You can follow Spaeder's progress here