LECOM Pharmacy Student Mitchell Ranzenberger Completes Grueling Swim Across Lake Erie

After nearly 18 hours in the water, LECOM pharmacy student Mitchell Ranzenberger reached the Freeport Beach to the cheers of dozens of family members and friends. The second-year student became the 12th person to accomplish one of the toughest aquatic feats. Ranzenberger began his swim at 4:20 Saturday morning on Long Point, a peninsula on the Canadian side of Lake Erie and 38.6 KM (24 miles) from North East, Pennsylvania. The journey began in rough waters, but the lake was calmer under overcast skies for most of the day.

Sore and nearly exhausted,Mitch Ranzenberer, Pharm2, reaches Freeport beach after swimming 24 miles over 18 hours.

His wife and three young children were watching from the Freeport beach when all you could see were three dots on the horizon - the motorboat and two kayaks that accompanied the swimmer. They watched for nearly three more hours as those three dots grew closer and as darkness fell the dots became pinpoints of light from the boats growing larger as Mitch made his way toward shore.

Until he began training this spring, Ranzenberger had never swam outside of a pool. He did much of his training at the LECOM Medical Fitness & Wellness Center before working in the lake with Eric Mizuba, DC. Dr. Mizuba coached Ranzenberger from a nearby kayak and swam alongside the student on the approach to shore.

Recently losing three friends to suicide, Ranzenberger is using the lake swim to promote suicide prevention and was raising funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (www.outofthedarkness.org). “Training for a 24 mile swim and making the Lake Erie crossing was anything but easy, but nothing compared to the loss of someone you love to suicide,” Ranzenberger tells his supporters. “To help raise awareness I have dedicated myself to making this swim across Lake Erie.”

To contribute to the JAR Fund for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention click here.

Besides his family and friends, the swimmer received support from LECOM Provost Silvia M. Ferretti, DO; Pharmacy School Dean Hershey Bell, MD; and Sports Medicine Director Patrick Leary, DO. James M. Wiclko, DMD, skippered his boat the Infinite Vision in assisting the lake crossing.

Hugs for a very tired daddy!

The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and LECOM School of Pharmacy offer innovative and affordable education in osteopathic medicineand pharmacy. From campuses in Erie, Pennsylvania, Greensburg, Pennsylvania and Bradenton, Florida, LECOM provides student-centered pathways to prepare the next generation of healthcare professionals. Prepare yourself for medicine as your life’s profession.

August 1, 2010
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