Meet Anita Doppenberg: open-water swimmer, swimming coach, mother of five, and soon-to-be-participant in the #SwimForErie. Anita lives in Niagara-on-the-Lake, which borders the Niagara River between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. She loves to swim in both lakes, but her favourite place to swim is Crystal Beach in Lake Erie. She has a strong connection with Lake Erie in particular, and even swam across it in 2016! This love of the water is nothing new to Anita--her mom had a passion for open water swimming as well. From a young age she remembers her mom bringing her out into the water, and teaching her that there is nothing to be afraid of.
Having spent so much time swimming, Anita feels at home in the open water. She doesn’t simply swim for herself though; rather Anita uses open-water swimming as a way to fundraise for causes around the world. For her across-Lake Erie swim alone, she raised $20,000 to help build a school in Guatemala!
Anita dedicates a lot of her time to coaching. She believes anyone -- regardless of age or experience can be an open-water swimmer! She’s particularly passionate about helping others conquer their fears and doubts to accomplish their goals.
As for the 24-hour #SwimForErie challenge, Anita is most looking forward to simply doing what she loves: being in the water. It is also an opportunity to help educate others on the problems facing Lake Erie, such as toxic algae blooms. She wants the lake to be healthy and safe for her kids and other generations long into the future, so this swim presents a chance for Anita to do her part in ensuring that.
It will not be without some tough aspects though, and Anita knows that. Although she is an experienced open water swimmer, she hasn’t swum at night before; it will be a first. She foresees this being the greatest challenge for her, although she knows that with the others there, it is accomplishable!