Rheines Wasser

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The Double Challenge

During the summer of 2014 Andreas Fath broke the world record for speed swimming the Rhine River from its source in the Swiss Alps to its confluence with the North Sea. This 28 day, 765-mile swim was more than an exceptional athletic achievement. Fath took daily water samples that provided an unprecedented look at the quality of water within this historic river.

Partnering with the University of the South, the Tennessee Aquarium, the University of Georgia River Basin Center, and The University of Alabama, this Furtwangen University (Black Forest of Germany) Professor will now set his sights on the Tennessee River, which he will swim in its entirety in the summer of 2017. The 652-mile long Tennessee stretches from Knoxville, Tennessee to Paducah, Kentucky where it joins the Ohio River.

"As a long-distance swimmer, I am passionate about water."

Fath’s endeavor will shed important light on the quality and health of the Tennessee River with the main goal of raising public awareness of water quality in the Tennessee River basin. Daily water samples will be analyzed for pharmaceuticals, pesticides, bacteria, and heavy metals. Fath’s own pioneering technique will be used to detect micro-plastic particles suspended in water, to which numerous contaminants adhere. Additionally, special instrumentation will be attached to the swimmer to permit the location of river sturgeon recently released by the Tennessee Aquarium.

"Of course the river will test me, but I’ll be testing the river, too."

Rheines Wasser EN