Courtesy of WOWSA, Tsugaru Channel, Japan.
The Columbine High School massacre was an American school shooting in 1999 where 10 students and a teacher were killed and 21 students were injured by fellow gun-toting students.
John Batchelder, one of the most prolific marathon swimmers in the world today, is a alumnus of Columbine High School (Class of 1999).
He writes about the cross section of his memories of the massacre in Colorado and his own channel swimming aspirations across the Tsugaru Channel in northern Japan. "I am dedicating my 2020 Tsugaru Channel Swim in remembrance of all those affected by senseless violence, particularly those from my Columbine High School family. It’s been 20 years, but I still have clear memories of that fateful day on April 20th 1999 and the days that followed, and I know I’m not alone.
To this end, I'm raising money for Rachel's Challenge. Rachel Scott was one of my classmates whose life was tragically cut short, but I’m happy to see her memory has become the foundation for an organization to help make the world a better place.
Rachel’s Challenge exists to inspire, equip and empower every person to create a permanent positive culture change in their school, business and community by starting a chain reaction of kindness and compassion. Please help me support a great cause. Every little bit helps."
Batchelder, whose butterfly exploits raised his marathon swimming profile worldwide, explained about his charitable efforts and his fundraiser for Rachel's Challenge. "Why Tsugaru?
Well, I thought about tying it to one of my swims already planned this year, but none felt appropriate. Then I went back to where I was 20 years ago. Back in high school I got caught up in the anime craze, falling in love with some of the iconic anime movies and series of the time, especially Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, and through that I fell in love with all of Japanese culture as a whole.
Japan was the first foreign country I ever visited, not counting a couple brief stops in Canada, and I absolutely loved my time there. It’s because of this I decided that the swim needed to be Tsugaru, as that is my best way of reconnecting with my past. Unfortunately that means waiting over a year for the swim, as I’m already committed to a full schedule this year, but that’s the way it goes."
To donate and for more information, visit here.
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