Up next for global swimmer: Pittsburgh
Darren Miller has conquered the waters in New Zealand, Japan, Hawaii and France, but on Saturday, the marathon swimmer from Delmont will stay closer to home.
Miller, 30, will trade the usual choppy currents, jellyfish and ocean vessels for Pittsburgh's three rivers, a training mission before he travels later this month to the North Channel in Northern Ireland.
If he successfully swims the channel, he'll be the first American man to complete the “Ocean's Seven” challenge, a feat of seven difficult open-water swims.
Until then, he'll prepare with a 24-mile swim in the Ohio, Monongahela and Allegheny rivers, spending about three hours in each. Kayakers will flank him during the swim to check for debris.
Miller will begin at 8 a.m. from the North Shore launch ramp near the main entrance of Heinz Field and will finish there around 5 p.m., based upon his plans to swim at about 2.5 mph.
“If the water is 80 degrees, I'm not going to be able to speed along, just simply because of how hot it is,” he said.
Miller is accustomed to swimming in oceans and lakes.
Until now, his only experience taking a dip in Pittsburgh's rivers has been for the wintry Polar Bear Plunge.
“I've never actually trained in the rivers before,” Miller said. “It's a different environment. ... There's not a whole lot of flow rate in the rivers.”
Miller hopes this swim could launch open-water swimming in Pittsburgh.
“I've always thought we have these three beautiful rivers,” he said. “I think what this city needs is to raise awareness of the sport of open-water marathon swimming. This is a niche sport.”
He dreams that next year, the city could host an open-water marathon attracting swimmers from across the globe.
A similar swim in North Dakota drew an athlete from Mumbai, Miller said, noting that there are few such races in the United States.
“It's just my way of saying I love this sport, I want to bring it to Pittsburgh. I know we could find some great sponsors,” he said. “It would be a great international event that I think the city of Pittsburgh could really rally around.”
Miller's Pittsburgh swim mimics the length and time it will take to complete the North Channel.
However, the Ireland swim is risky with its brutally cold water — lower than 55 degrees — and its population of jellyfish.
“I saved this one for last for a reason,” Miller said. “It's a significant challenge. This one is above and beyond any of the other six as far as difficulty simply because of the water.”
Miller undertakes the marathon swimming challenges for charity. Trustmont Financial Group sponsors Miller's swims, along with several “sub-sponsors.”
Every penny donated benefits the Forever Fund, which helps families pay for costs associated with infant cardiothoracic surgery at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. The fund covers costs such as travel and lodging.
So far, Miller has raised about $65,000.
“Whatever we can raise, that's what I'm doing this for; to ease their financial burden,” Miller said. “The last thing I want them to worry about is their money.”
The Pittsburgh swim provides an opportunity for the community to see Miller in action, considering most of his marathons are not local. After the swim, he'll host a meet-and-greet at the finish line.
Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Slovenian Club in Claridge is marking 100th anniversary
- Westmoreland judge keeps Ligonier Borough planning commission intact
- Greensburg sues man, attorney over ‘frivolous’ case
- Derry Township residents voice concerns about mining company blast plans
- Pair share love of dance with youths in Fayette, Westmoreland
- Housing market remains ‘disaster’ in Westmoreland County
- Northampton man has four major drug arrests in Western Pa. since 2009
- New Ohiopyle park manager ready for big challenge that comes with job
- St. Michael’s volunteers cook up festival delights
- ‘Extreme extrovert’ takes over at WCCC
- Westmoreland judges’ caseloads unlikely to affect district boundary changes