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Green Visions
A Northland Morning feature focusing on local environmental issues, heard Wednesdays at 8:20 a.m. Green Visions is brought to you by All Energy Solar, Minnesota Power Energy Conservation Program, and Energy Plus.

Green Visions: Relay Swim in the Warming Waters of Lake Superior

A swimmer in the water with a lighthouse on a cliff in the background

At 8am on Tuesday, August 29th, Karen Zemlin hopped in the water on the shore of Lake Superior near Split Rock Lighthouse. Twenty-four hours later, she and her team of relay swimmers reached Duluth.

Zemlin is the world record holder for being the fastest woman over 50 years of age to swim across the English Channel; a feat that fell short during her first attempt in 2015. "I froze out near the end, less than a mile from France," says Zemlin whose team pulled her out of the water. Before her successful attempt, Zemlin spent time getting used to colder waters in and around Lake Superior.

Recent years are seeing those frigid waters become less so. John Shepard of Hamline University's Center for Global and Environmental Education is a part of the team bringing awareness about the rising temperatures to the largest of the Great Lakes. "The surface water temps have increased by 4-5 degrees Fahrenheit within the last thirty, forty years... it's just one of the things that's happening in our changing world." Additional efforts to create awareness of this change include a partnership with Hamline University and PBS North on the documentary A Sea Change for Lake Superior.

Zemlin and the team of swimmers completed the 50-mile swim from Split Rock to Duluth in roughly 24 hours - sans wet suits.

You can hear Green Visions at 8:20am every Wednesday on Northland Morning.

Luke Moravec is the host for Northland Morning on The North 103.3. He’s also a local actor, musician and writer. He loves puzzles, riddles and fun mysteries.
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