If you see a man floating down the Missouri River, followed by a canoe and people on yellow paddle boards, don't panic. Dave Cornthwaite didn't fall into the river.
Cornthwaite is swimming from Chamberlain, S.D. to St. Louis, Mo., raising money for CoppaFeel, a charity aimed at breast cancer awareness. Cornthwaite dove into the Missouri River on August 10 and hopes to reach his final destination by the first week in October.
The swim is the seventh leg of the England native's “Expedition1000” project, a series of twenty-five, 1,000-mile adventures. The goal is to use a different mode of non-motorized transportation for each. So far he has completed 1,000-mile (or more) treks on skateboard, kayak, tandem bicycle, paddle board, sail boat and bike car.
Cornthwaite, 32, and his team pulled off Friday morning near Lewis and Clark Landing in Omaha to chat with reporters.
Click here to learn more about Dave Cornthwaite's adventure or to donate.
Q: Why are you swimming the Missouri River?
My friend Chris was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 23, and she set up a charity (CoppaFeel) to let young people know they can get breast cancer, too. I also wanted to do a big adventure in the water.
Q: How many miles a day are you swimming?
The goal is to average 20 miles a day for 50 days. But because of the upper sections being so slow, we only averaged seven or eight miles during that section. Now we're pushing close to 30 miles a day.
Q: How do you train for something like this?
Mentally. I'd never been a swimmer before this journey, and I've probably only swam 200 to 300 meters in one go before. The training really happened in the first couple of weeks – taking it slow and steady and slowly building up my strength.
Q: Where do you sleep?
We've been camping in sand bars largely. But now and then we've met some amazing people who have taken us into their home, fed us and given us a well-needed shower.
Q: Have you run into any obstacles?
The river is definitely getting dirtier, and I've noticed a change in the ecology on the way down. There's a few dead fish lying around, so I'm definitely not swallowing any of the water.
Q: How far will you go past Omaha?
I think tonight (Friday, Sept. 14) we're aiming for Bellevue, so that's mile marker 599. It will be another 30-mile day, and I think we'll make that quite comfortably.