NEW ORLEANS -- A Lafayette native is taking on Lake Pontchartrain, making the solo swim from the West End lighthouse to Mandeville overnight.
The aquatic challenge hopes to highlight restoration efforts by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.
Matthew Mosley decided this was something he had cross off his bucket list.
He’s swam to the lake's half-way mark before, never attempting to make it across solo, until tonight.
Mosley’s support team consists of fellow swimmers, local musicians, a documentary film crew, and most importantly his coach, who will be on-board one of two boats closely monitoring Mosley’s strokes across the lake.
“Every 25 minutes my coach and I will stop have a little bit of protein drink, maybe some gels, banana, and then as the swim goes on I’ll start eating more solid foods like eggs and ham, chicken quesadilla.”
The 47-year-old is attempting to swim from the New Canal Lighthouse at West End to Mandeville overnight, hoping to break English Channel records.
“No one has swam across Lake Pontchartrain certified using English Channel rules where you can’t touch the boat,” he said. “You have to leave from a shore and end on another shore. I can’t touch another human.”
The 25-mile-challenge is the Louisiana native’s way of highlighting the accomplishment’s made by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, working to restore the lake and eroding coastlines.
The organization says Mosley’s swim shows how far the lake has come.
“I grew up in New Orleans and I grew up in the time when you wouldn't swim in the lake," said Dr. Andrea Calvin of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. "And so while I think a lot of people have gotten the message that, yes, the lake has cleaned up tremendously and our data shows that week after week. I think we're still dealing with some lingering perceptions that the lake is polluted."
With moonlight and music as his guide, Mosley knows it’ll be a long night ahead, hopefully greeted by boats scheduled to meet him when the sun comes up on the Northshore.
“After awhile you get to kind of a Zen state where you’re not really thinking of much of anything,” he said. “You’re just concentrating on your stroke, your breath and you keep going.” Mosley is collecting donations to benefit the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and produce a documentary about the lake. To help out, visit http://www.saveourlake.org.
The swim is expected to take about 12 to 13 hours.