Stay up-to-date with our TenneSwim blog, where we will report on the swim on a daily basis. We will also address more general topics related to the Tennessee River and water quality.

"Discover the Tennessee River!"

09/08/17 - 9:34 am

How much plastic does the Tennessee River carry?

by Jutta Neumann

Since the TenneSwim ended on September 29th, the “swimming professor” Andreas Fath and his graduate student Juri Jander have been busy analyzing their numerous water quality samples. The TenneSwim team is particularly interested in how much plastic is transported by […]

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08/29/17 - 9:31 am

The Finish Line

by Chase Brasher

Today is the day. August 29th, 2017 is the day that Andreas Fath finishes his swim on the Tennessee River. After 34 days, the aquatic journey is over after many stops along the coast of the river. Today he comes […]

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08/28/17 - 12:44 pm

Clarks River and its National Wildlife Refuge

by Chase Brasher

In 2014, Andreas performed his record breaking swim of one of the most famous rivers in the world, the Rhine River in Europe. Currently, he is less than 2 days away from completing his swim of the Tennessee River, one […]

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08/27/17 - 1:47 pm

Paducah and the 1937 Flood

by Chase Brasher

Andreas is knocking on the doorstep of Kentucky Dam at this very moment. The cause for this dam has been mentioned in a prior post but not given the detail and respect it deserves. That is why today, the historic […]

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08/26/17 - 12:02 pm

The Land Between the Lakes

by Chase Brasher

During Andreas’ swim north through Kentucky Lake, there is a large mass of land to his starboard side. Should you cross that, you will find another lake called Lake Barkley. This area was formerly known as the “Land between the […]

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08/25/17 - 2:21 pm

Kentucky Lake and the Dam that Made it

by Chase Brasher

Currently, Andreas is continuing his swim on the Tennessee River and quickly approaching the Tennessee-Kentucky state line. He is entering Kentucky Lake, the 5th largest freshwater man made lake in the United States (and at one point the largest), covering […]

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08/24/17 - 2:38 pm

Paris Landing

by Randy Hedgepath

Tennessee State Parks is excited to welcome Andreas and team to Paris Landing State Park! On the west side of the river, at river mile 66, is Paris Landing State Park. The riverboat landing was important to the people of […]

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08/23/17 - 3:07 pm

Welcome to Johnsonville

by Randy Hedgepath

In 1864, the Union Army, headquartered in Nashville, needed an alternate supply route. Boats coming up the Cumberland River were frequently attacked and often lost. So a depot for riverboats was built on the Tennessee River and named for military […]

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08/22/17 - 1:30 pm

Musseling Muscle

by Randy Hedgepath

The Tennessee River watershed is home to an amazing diversity of life. The Duck River is a major tributary of the Tennessee River in the western valley and is said to be one of the most biologically diverse streams in […]

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08/21/17 - 12:23 pm

River Conservation Can Get Messy

by Paul Kingsbury

Today, of course, the big news is the total solar eclipse that begins around noon in the Central time zone. Andreas’s plan is to keep swimming during the eclipse, while the crew will use eclipse shades to view the spectacular phenomenon. […]

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08/20/17 - 2:04 pm

The Highlands of the West

by Randy Hedgepath

The central part of the state of Tennessee could be compared to a giant donut. The Central Basin is the “hole” in the center and the donut around this basin is called the Highland Rim. The northern parts of the […]

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08/19/17 - 1:00 pm

No Mosasaurs Today

by Martin Knoll

There are several small tributaries to the Tennessee River named Coon Creek. One located near Savannah in western Tennessee, however, has eroded down into bedrock to reveal a treasure box of fossils from an ancient sea. The exposed rock is […]

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08/18/17 - 2:37 pm

Our Precious River

by Randy Hedgepath

The Tennessee River is the foundation of the economy in many communities along its banks. In addition to the cities of Knoxville and Chattanooga, many smaller towns owe their existence to the river. Savannah is a community which started at […]

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08/17/17 - 2:45 pm

The Great Western Valley

by Randy Hedgepath

The Muscle Shoals were the last rocky obstacles Andreas had to cross during his Tennessee River swim. The dangerous rapids and shallow water were created by the efforts of the river to cut through a tough, resistant layer of rock […]

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08/16/17 - 2:27 pm

An Abundance of Fish

by Paul Kingsbury

Andreas Fath is swimming in a river that contains an incredible variety of aquatic life. There are more fish, freshwater mussels, snails, insects, plants and other forms of life in the Tennessee River system than there are anywhere else in […]

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08/15/17 - 2:22 pm

Swimming into Music History

by Paul Kingsbury

After a tough day contending with high winds and big waves yesterday, Andreas has passed Wheeler Dam and today has been swimming toward Wilson Dam… and the famed music center known as Muscle Shoals. Muscle Shoals is thought to have […]

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08/14/17 - 1:19 pm

On Wheeler Lake

by Paul Kingsbury

Today Andreas Fath is pushing hard across the glassy stillness of Wheeler Lake, west of Decatur, Alabama, in his quest to swim the Tennessee River. Swimming across such man-made lakes is always a challenge for Andreas because there is little […]

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08/13/17 - 2:24 pm

Who Else Has Swum the Entire Tennessee River?

by Paul Kingsbury

Andreas Fath is attempting an incredible athletic feat in swimming the entire 652-mile Tennessee River. Months ago, in the run-up to the start of the “TenneSwim,” many of us supporting Andreas’s swim for science began to ask: Has anyone else […]

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08/12/17 - 10:27 am

Passing the Painted Bluff

by Paul Kingsbury

On Friday afternoon, Andreas and the team passed the majestic Painted Bluff along the northern bank of the Tennessee River just southeast of Huntsville. More than 80 ancient Native American paintings and rock carvings decorate its walls. It’s been called […]

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08/11/17 - 12:17 pm

Swimming Through Guntersville Dam

by Hannah Verity

Today, Andreas Fath plans to go through the locks at Guntersville Dam by early afternoon. This will be the first of four dams he will be swimming through in Alabama. Guntersville Dam was built in 1935. The nearby town, Guntersville, […]

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08/10/17 - 11:59 am

Wildlife on the Water

by Hannah Verity

Andreas Fath continues to conquer the Tennessee River. Today, he approaches Guntersville Lake in Alabama.  Martin Knoll, TenneSwim’s U.S. Project Director, summarizes the team’s journey so far, “The scenery all along the way has been just gorgeous. It’s like a […]

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08/09/17 - 12:01 pm

Sweet Home Alabama

by Paul Kingsbury

Yesterday Andreas Fath had a tremendous day of swimming the Tennessee River. He did 24 miles, far surpassing his daily goal of 20 miles. As of the end of yesterday, he has 400 miles to go to reach the river’s […]

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08/08/17 - 7:59 am

Microplastics – a Macro Issue for Water Quality

by Casey Phillips

On a human scale, something that measures 5 millimeters (about a fifth of an inch) probably doesn’t register as large enough to be worthy of much attention. And given that perception, it can be hard to imagine that something so […]

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08/07/17 - 11:00 am

No Kraken, but Plenty of Other Odd Animals in the Tennessee River

by Casey Phillips

There are certain animals you expect to find in a body of freshwater like the Tennessee River: Catfish, turtles, ducks, darters, maybe a snake or two. What you don’t expect? Jellyfish. Yet, as unlikely as it may seem, as Dr. […]

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08/06/17 - 9:17 am

The Magic Line

by Martin Knoll

The Tenneswim crew has settled into a distinct routine. Each morning after a camp breakfast our 18 foot pontoon boat is loaded and anywhere from three to six people, plus Andreas, head out  to the point where Andreas stopped swimming […]

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08/05/17 - 12:00 pm

Entering “Tennessee’s Grand Canyon”

by Casey Phillips

When Dr. Andreas Fath started the Rheines Wasser project to swim and analyze the water quality along the entirety of Germany’s Rhine River in 2014, he began in Switzerland’s frigid Lake Toma. At the time, he was surrounded by the […]

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08/04/17 - 7:32 am

The Tennessee River: Superhighway Through an ‘Underwater Rainforest’

by Casey Phillips

For scientists, biodiversity is a critical measurement of an ecosystem’s ecological richness. The higher the biodiversity, the more plant and animal species that can be found in a particular location. According to a 2016 study created through a partnership between […]

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08/03/17 - 5:34 pm

Of Mining and Rafting on the Ocoee River

by Martin Knoll

Today we drifted by the confluence of the Hiwassee River, one of the largest tributaries feeding the Tennessee. This river has its origins to the east, high in the mountains of the Blue Ridge. As it spills out of the […]

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08/02/17 - 11:29 am

Beneath the Surface: Cherokee Culture and the Tennessee River

by Casey Phillips

Having crossed more than 120 miles and with a stopping point near Dayton, Tenn., in his sights, Dr. Andreas Fath is making incredibly swift progress in TenneSwim, his epic project to swim and analyze the entire Tennessee River. In addition […]

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08/01/17 - 4:38 pm

Swimming with Dinosaurs

by Casey Phillips

When Dr. Andreas Fath began this ambitious project, he entered the headwaters of the Tennessee River just a few miles downstream from Seven Islands State Birding Park. This 416-acre park occupies a peninsula embraced by a curve of the French […]

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07/31/17 - 10:14 pm

The WILD Side of the Tennessee River

by Jennifer Roder

The Tennessee River is one of the most aquatically biodiverse river systems in North America. It is also habitat for the largest nesting population of bald eagles in the United States. In fact, Ijams Nature Center is fortunate to see […]

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07/30/17 - 10:09 pm

Keep it Clean, Tennessee!

by Jennifer Roder

Today marks the 4th day of the historic TenneSwim. As Dr. Fath swims through East Tennessee, I hope he is having a good experience in our waters. As the Education Director at Ijams Nature Center, I lead a team of […]

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07/29/17 - 9:49 pm

What’s in a Name?

by Jennifer Roder

Today, Dr. Fath and the TenneSwim team went through the Fort Loudoun lock. It is the first of a series of locks that help boats move from one Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) reservoir to another. The process normally takes about 45 minutes. […]

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07/28/17 - 9:01 pm

Drugs on Tap: Medications in our Waterways

by Jennifer Roder

As fun as it is to talk about records, wildlife, and belly flops- there is also a serious side to Dr. Fath’s historic swim. At its heart, TenneSwim is a water quality research and awareness effort, with the goal of […]

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07/27/17 - 7:27 pm

And we’re off!

by Jennifer Roder

In a scenic little corner of the Tennessee River lies Ijams Nature Center. Just a mile downstream from the headwaters of the mighty river, Ijams is a lovely oasis in the urban setting of Knoxville, TN. For over 100 years, […]

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07/26/17 - 9:00 am

Leaving the Rooftop

by Martin Knoll

The mountains of eastern Tennessee form the rooftop of the Tennessee River watershed. This is the highest ground upon which rainwater falls, ultimately making its way down to the river. Today the TenneSwim team leaves our staging area in the town […]

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07/20/17 - 12:38 pm

Preparing for the TenneSwim

by Jutta Neumann

“Since outdoor-pools opened in mid-May, I’ve swum 125 miles” explains Andreas Fath when asked about his training workload. “That’s about the same distance I swam to prepare for swimming the Rhine in 2014.” Andreas plans to train every day before […]

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06/28/17 - 8:05 am

One bathtub in a swimming pool

by Philipp Nußbaum

Whereas water on this planet may seem abundant, most is not immediately accessible for human use: In 1993, hydrologist Igor Shiklomanov famously estimated that of all water on earth – representing a volume of circa 1.386 billion km3 – merely […]

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