LoCo Lake Erie Swim

June 28, 2019 @ 8:00AM — June 30, 2019 @ 8:00PM

Swimming from Canada to Lorain, Ohio with the Chapple kids & friends to support clean water! (P.S. They're grown up kids.) Meet the swimmers as they come ashore in Lorain, then join us at LoCo 'Yaks/ Riverside Park for a Meet & Greet event with all the swimmers & organizers.

LoCo Lake Erie Swim image

Support the swimmers, Lake Erie, and the LoCo 'Yaks!

There are currently no tickets available for this event, but you can still make a donation.

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THANK YOU! to our many donors...

(in no particular order)

Jason & Lori Linkous, Laurie Piskur, Melanie WIlson, Patricia O'Brien, Max & Liz Schaefer, Theresa Golightly, Mee Lim, Cristina Luthy, James & Carrie Francis, Laura Munoz, Samantha Lasky, Mary Thompson, Laura Rose, Malissa Lash, Sunday Club Games LLC, Cara Lalley, Paloma Santiago-Adorno, Rachel Cromwell, Melissa Vernon, Vanessa Krejci, Zadie Brown, Juliet Farrell, Karen Trautwein, Heather Lair, Joan Reidy, Lori Gillespie, Ben Norton, Maggie Notley Gross, Kim Daniels, Joe Catalano, Ryan Dlugosz, Richard Mattie, Sarah Sheldon, Nick Crothers, Michele Good, Lisa Biltz, Amy Craig, Naureen Rana, Ashley Beam, Elliot Fiedler, Michael Ginn, tracey vardas, Alina Hussey, Melissa Fisk, Donna Kasinec, Andrea Smiley, Michael & Alexandra Bee, Tanya Ray, SUsan Burge, Susan Hanko-Mamula, Laurie & Brian Beam, Greg Pergament, Kerri Branham Hudson, Andrew Britton, Amy Kohlmyer.


The Mission

Why in the world would anyone want to swim across Lake Erie? Sure it is 35 miles from Canada to Lorain. And yes, it might be a little chilly. And who knows if the weather will cooperate? But we are doing it for two simple reasons: to build the Lorain community, and for the sake of the lake.The Mission

While we have witnessed Lorain and Lake Erie face challenging times, today we see the good stuff. So many people call Lorain home - some who currently live in Lorain and others who have moved away for work. Locally and nationally, Lorain has a diverse and vibrant community made of friends and families from across racial and ethnic backgrounds who have lived, worked, studied, prayed, and played together for generations. The LoCo Lake Erie Swim brings people together to celebrate our community, our resources and invest in them.

One of Lorain’s greatest assets is its location on Lake Erie. This sweetwater sea boasts magnificent sunsets that will put anyone at ease. Its depth makes it warmer and therefore more swimmable that the other Great Lakes. The waves that roll across the horizon can power a short surf ride and create a beauty of a splash against a breakwall. Lake Erie shores are perfect for land-based fishing, and the lake itself is great for boating. The LoCo Lake Erie swimmers are showing us that swimming in the Lake is a great adventure, not to be missed.

To help raise awareness for protecting Lake Erie from pollution, the swimmers are partnering with LoCo‘ Yaks. A local non-profit organization, LoCo ‘Yaks promotes open-water kayak instruction and educational adventures for all ages and abilities, while helping protect Lake Erie and the Black River. Already, LoCo ‘Yaks has removed more than 100 tons of debris in and along the Black River. LoCo ‘Yaks teaches people how storm drains lead directly to our lakes and rivers. They also provide adaptive paddling access and programming in Lorain County. In short, they are having a LoCo positive impact on Lorain and Lake Erie. That is why we want to support them, and we hope you will join us!

The Details

The LoCo swimmers want to invest our time and love in the community and the lake. We are swimming across the lake from Canada back to the US, from Lemington, Ontario to Lorain, Ohio.

We plan to swim the weekend before July 4th, so June 29-30, weather permitting. The following holiday week will be the fallback if weather conditions are not suitable

It’s approximately 35 miles as a gull flies. We have a crew of about 12 swimmers, each swimming three 1-hour shifts. Swimmers will be shadowed the entire distance by boats and kayaks with plenty of safety precautions. We figured that with different swimming speeds, water conditions, etc. we can average at least 1mph, so in total about 35 hrs max.

The Funds

Protecting the lake and creating community requires investment. We are raising funds to cover costs for the swim and mostly to support LoCo ‘Yaks. Money will be used cover fuel for the swimmers, fuel for the support boats, promotional materials, a finish celebration for the LoCo community, and the ongoing program and operations of LoCo ‘Yaks.

$7,000 is our fundraising goal!

This is where the money is going:

  • Fuel for Boats: $1,000
  • Food for LoCo Swimmers: $500
  • Protective Swim Gear (swimcaps, rashguards): $800
  • Promotional Materials (signage, T-shirts): $600
  • LoCo celebration at the Finish: $100
  • LoCo ‘Yaks Projects: $5,000
    This will help to create future cleanups, help with the launch of the Adaptive Paddling program for people with physical disabilities, snacks and supplies for volunteers, and to help keep the lights on.

The Stretch Goals

Our goals is $7,000, but If we get to $10,000, then there is more in store for everyone. So if we are more than $3,000 over our fundraising goal, we will host another celebration for the community with live entertainment!

The Rewards

$5,000 - Event Sponsor

This donation is the core support for LoCo ‘Yaks and their mission to protect Lake Erie. At this level, you will receive an exclusive opportunity to have a personal boat cruise with the swimmers. Our team will escort you to and from the live swimming site on Sunday afternoon. The LoCo swimmers are a fun and lively bunch, and you will have a great time hanging out on the water with them. Your organization’s logo and name will be prominently featured on all promotional materials and at the celebration at the finish. You will also have a logo and name on the signage on the boat, front and center.

$1,000 - Boat Sponsor

Your contribution at $1,000 will allow us to provide fuel for the boats. Boat Sponsors are invited to meet the LoCo Lake Erie swimmers just before they launch on Friday afternoon from the Lorain Harbor. Your organization’s logo and name will be featured on the boat, and will be recognized in all promotional materials and at the celebration at the finish.

$100 - Kayak Sponsor

At this level, your support will help buy food for the swimmers. As a reward, we would like to provide you with an opportunity for a kayaking lesson with LoCo ‘Yaks.

$20 - Swim Sponsor

Every dollar helps. At $20, you will help defray costs for a swimmer’s swim cap, or rashguard. In return, we will provide you with a LoCo Lake Erie swim t-shirt, swim cap, or rashguard of your own.

Risks and Challenges

While we have sailed across Lake Erie and swum in its waters countless times, we have never swum across Lake Erie before.

  • Safety precautions we have taken
    • We will have one mother ship shadowing the working swimmer. This mother ship will house the current heat of swimmers and will have the plenty of resources for tired swimmers: food, water, shade, bunks, etc. Along with the mother ship will be a small tender and kayak used to shadow the swimmer from a close proximity. Additionally, each swimmer will have a rescue satellite beacon and VHF radio. A second boat will run between Lorain Harbor and the mothership to change our heats of swimmers or to resupply.
  • Weather

We will be watching the weather closely. Lake Erie is the shallowest of the great lakes, and therefore her waters are quick to change. If seas are over 2 feet, we will likely postpone the swim. If this occurs after the swim has begun, we will take down our bearings, and return to that place once the weather has calmed.

  • Contingency plans for the swim
    • If we are forced to postpone because of weather or other unforeseen circumstances we will delay the swim later in the holiday week when weather will cooperate. Because we have many folks from out of town and a lot of logistics to make the swim happen, if we cannot complete the swim by the weekend of July 6th, the swim will be rescheduled.

Regarding the aforementioned rewards, we will do our best to keep you up to date and make alternate plans as needed.

The Team


Amy Bignault lives in Doylestown, PA, where she works as a speech-language pathologist, raises her 3 boys and runs and swims in her free time. She grew up in the Chicago area and spent summers swimming and playing in Lake Michigan. She is an open water swimming enthusiast and cares deeply about the health of the Great Lakes.



Doug Bignault is a high school swimmer and lifeguard. He lives in Doylestown, PA with his parents and 2 younger brothers. He has been swimming competitively for 5 years and most enjoys outdoor meets and open water events.



Meghan Chapple developed her love for swimming in open water on Lake Erie. There’s nowhere she’d rather be. These days she has to resort to swimming in a pool or the Chesapeake Bay. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her never-a-dull-moment daughter, and is busy working to protect the planet, working in Washington, D.C. Happy to be back on Lake Erie for this adventure!


Kyle Chapple lives in New Jersey with his family. He grew up in Lorain and is an avid surfer, swimmer, and sailor. Fun fact: as a child he sailed in Frosty’s in the dead of winter in the Lorain Harbor.



Taylor Chapple grew up swimming, sailing surfing along the shores of Lake Erie. Taylor still spends most of his time in water, but now as a marine biologist for Stanford University studying sharks around the world. Swimming across Lake Erie has been a life goal for Taylor ever since his lifeguarding days at Lakeview Beach.



Jamie Cornelius is an ornithologist and biology professor at Eastern Michigan University. She is swimming across Lake Erie because she loves adventures with friends, freshwater lakes and grass-roots conservation. This swim features all three!


Anna Hussey is originally from the UK but has been living on the Great Lakes in Windsor, Canada for the last nine years. Many moons ago, her husband Nigel swam across a reservoir in Cyprus in the middle of the night, slightly inebriated as the result of a bet with her brother, it is time to beat his record and this will undoubtedly do that! More seriously, the Lakes have become a part of her back yard and she is honored to give back something. She is looking forward to making this happen with the rest of the team -it’s going to be an amazing challenge!


Cindy Morrisson

“These are my people. And this is my lake. I’m swimming for the love of both.”



Brent Norton The two biggest influences that have shaped Brent’s life are family and Lake Erie. His love for adventure and water are directly from having Lake Erie in his backyard growing up. He would hear the whisper, whether he was walking the shores, swimming, fishing, or just endless gazing at the magic she displayed. From tranquil warm swimming waters to frozen tundra to the most violet power from nature. He has lived in Seattle for the last 25 years. He raised a family and founded three breweries, and always kept the adventurous spirit. Brent is excited to do this swim and challenge and bring awareness to the importance of being kind to our environment.


Erin Sink grew up in Lorain, OH and spent her summers lifeguarding at Lakeview Beach. She now lives in San Francisco working in platform Trust & Safety for Airbnb. However, sunsets over Lake Erie still serve as the place she returns to contemplate most big life decisions. She is hoping that racing the Chapples from the beach to lighthouse will serve as great early training for this exciting relay across the lake.


Lisa Schaeffer is a First grade teacher in Fort Collins, Colorado. She grew up on Lake Erie while visiting her grandparents in Lakeside. She continues to visit every summer from Colorado to share the beauty and many activities that Lake Erie has to offer with her two boys and husband.


Josh Schaeffer is an assistant professor at Colorado State University where he teaches and conducts research on occupational and environmental exposures that are associated with adverse respiratory and kidney outcomes. He grew up on Lake Erie at Beaver Park Marina and continues to enjoy boating, paddle boarding, swimming, and sailing with his family and friends. He visits every summer from Colorado with his two boys and wife, and spends as much time on the lake as possible. Josh and Lisa are excited about the opportunity to swim across Lake Erie with good friends and raise awareness about environmental stewardship and sustainability to help preserve this important resource and beyond.


Erik Sumption. No Bio.