AUSTIN -- It was a grueling 21-mile journey that took 13 hours to complete. Jaime Slaughter swam from Mansfield Dam to Tom Miller Dam -- a feat that took roughly 40,000 strokes. The journey is about the same distance as swimming the English Channel.
"Sometimes I was thinking, 'What have I gotten myself in to?' I knew inside I could do it," said Slaughter.
Slaughter was at the pool at Lifetime Fitness in South Austin when four-year-old Colin Holst nearly drowned and later died. He tried to resuscitate him. At the time, Slaughter was a bystander, just a stranger who tried to help. Today he serves on the board of Colin's Hope, the non-profit Colin's parents started after his death.
"I hope people take away that something great has come from a horrible loss," said Slaughter.
Colin's Hope exists to bring awareness to child safety and prevent drownings. A majority of child drownings happen in family pools.
"We miss him dearly. There is nothing we can do to bring him back, but doing events like this, we can prevent other families from going through the same tragedy," said Colin's father Jeff Holst.
Holst kayaked alongside Slaughter on the last four miles of his swim. It took Slaughter 13 hours to swim from Mansfield Dam to Tom Miller Dam.
Thursday Colin's Hope is sponsoring the world's largest swim lesson at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in New Braunfels. It begins at 10 a.m. and will include hundreds of swimmers.
NOTE: I happened to be there that day, and checked his progress a couple of times. It was very unusual that there was NO current being released from Lake Travis ALL DAY, which would have assisted him, and also very unusual this time of year, he had to swim into an unusually strong SE wind much of the marathon!
In my humble estimation, these two factors made this feat TWICE as difficult!
UNBELEIVABLE! but i SAW IT!