UTC Swimmers Dive into the Mariana Trench Challenge

A board hangs next to the ARC’s lap pool keeping track of students mileage on the Mariana Trench Challenge. The Mariana Trench Challenge was a attempt by swimmers to swim the length of the Mariana Trench in a cumulative effort. Sunday, November 7, 2021. 

At the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, it’s hard to miss the state-of-the-art aquatics facility. From private swimming lessons, the two story water slide, the lazy river, to even birthday parties, our Aquatic and Recreation Center is a great place to dive into the world of swimming. 

Each semester, UTC Aquatics hosts a different swimming challenge for all students with a unique theme. The challenges are in place to foster teamwork and inclusion within the aquatic space, along with connecting the participants to the UTC community. 

The Aquatics department derived their inspiration for this semester’s challenge from the Mariana Trench, located in the Pacific Ocean. This vast area of the Pacific is actually the deepest part of all oceans on Earth; its range is 1554 miles.

Spencer Jordan, the Aquatics and Safety Coordinator said “Our challenge is to see how far across the Mariana Trench we can get by the end of the semester. As a team, those participating in the challenge have swam a combined 309.25 miles to date, with the challenge continuing through the month of November.” 

In terms of reaching the end of the challenge, Jordan said that the Aquatics department likes to set ambitious goals, and that it will likely take hundreds of  more hours from UTC swimmers to fully complete the 1554 miles of the trench. Nonetheless, there is ample time remaining in this semester.

“We expect over 100 more miles from our participants by the time the challenge comes to an end,” said Jordan. “Student Jeremy Blomberg currently has swam the longest distance. Since the start of this challenge—September— he has swam approximately 130 miles.”

The Programming and Events Student Lead, senior Madison Dayton, keeps track of all of the numbers, and ensures that each mile swam is accounted for in efforts to complete the challenge.

“Every Monday and Wednesday I take note of all of the swimmers, and take notes of the total yards they all swam that day. Then, I convert the yards into miles, where I then put the miles onto an excel sheet” said Dayton.

Amongst all of the long practices and laps from these avid swimmers, the success of completing this long term goal will be all worth it. Our “Water Mocs” are motivated to reach this goal, and without the help of Campus Recreation’s encouragement and positive spirit, embarking in the Mariana Trench challenge wouldn’t be possible.

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