Increasing the distance for a third year!
Jim Cottam and Dr. Chris Lechner will set out on September 17th for another long distance open water swim at Fontana Lake. Joining Jim and Chris for approximately 6.2 miles will be Todd Newnam, a parent of one of the swimmers Jim coaches, and Larry Hartley, a local attorney. Luke Lechner, Camille Long, Ashleigh Lechner, Anna Newnam, Susan McKenzie and Sara Laws will be joining them for shorter intervals. These long distance swimmers will be in the water together again to raise money and awareness for cancer survivors. This year, in addition to benefiting The Hope Chest for Women, a portion of the money raised will benefit WNC Aquatic Center, a new independent, not for profit/tax advantage legal entity formed to construct, maintain, and manage a multi use Aquatic Center.
For the past two years, we have used Fundly (https://fundly.com/that-dam-s
This year, Cottam and Lechner will swim an estimated 22 plus miles in 12-14 hours of swimming at Lake Fontana. “It would be nice if we could finish between 22 and 26.2 miles” stated Cottam. Jim, whose motivation is to inspire and encourage others to join him in raising money for local cancer survivors, began training in early summer. When asked about his motivation for participating in the swim, Todd Newnam said, “I am participating after being inspired by Jim and Chris having done several very long distance swims and Jim letting me know that the first major milestone in open water swimming is the 10k (which is considered the swimming equivalent to a marathon).”
“It is nice to know we are raising money for a local nonprofit that supports women in our community,” stated Cottam. While logging more than 20,000 strokes to reach Fontana Dam, the two longtime friends remain motivated by the stories they’ve heard of women who were dealing with cancer. With the help of 75 donors, Jim, Dave Easterling, and Frank Kriegler netted $6,475 in 2015. Added to the total of $9,365 raised in 2014, these fellows raised over $15,840 in two years!
The kind folks at Almond Boat and RV have graciously donated the use of a pontoon support boat for the day. Their dock manager, Jeff Mathis, said that while he has never been personally affected by breast cancer, the kids in the P.E. classes he taught raised about $80,000 for Jump Rope for Heart over the past fifteen years. When asked about his business’ decision to sponsor the swim, he said, “there are a lot of people that have needs that aren’t met with just money.” We have also received sponsorships from Fontana Village Resort and Marina in the form of the use of a pontoon boat and a kayak and food, water, and Gatorade from Sam’s Club.
How can you show your support and join Jim and Chris? The support team of donors, additional swimmers, kayakers and boaters will be needed again this year to help Cottam, Lechner, and Newnam reach their goals. “We will need people to join us at Fontana Lake to provide support during our long distance swim,” stated Cottam. You can contact Jim directly to learn more about the swim and join the support team at [email protected] or [email protected].
Donations can be made online through The Hope Chest for Women website, through www.thatdamswim.com, or via Facebook.com/ThatDamSwim, which connects to our Fundly site. You can also send donations to The Hope Chest for Women, P.O. Box 5294, Asheville NC, 28813.
Courtesy of Jim Cottam and Dr. Chris Lechner.