Navy veteran swimming length of Mississippi River

Navy veteran swimming length of Mississippi River

A current member of the U.S. Navy is taking on a grueling physical challenge to honor those who have fallen in the line of duty.

Chris Ring has served multiple deployments with the Navy and is now getting back in the water for a different cause.

He’s swimming the entire length of the Mississippi River for an organization called Legacies Alive, which organizes challenges every year to raise awareness for servicemen and women who died defending the country. The group also emphasizes meeting with Gold Star families who lost loved ones who served.

“All the people that I meet, a lot of the people focus on the swim,” said Ring. “It’s not what I’m doing, but why I’m doing it. To not only memorialize these fallen heroes, but really celebrate the lives they lived.”

Even though he’s swimming more than 2,500 miles, Ring says he doesn’t have an extensive background in the sport. He says he took on the challenge after four months of training.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Ring. “It’s an extreme challenge, I want it difficult for me as well.”

Ring says the length of the trip depends on how many Gold Star families he meets along the way.

“We’re not trying to finish the swim in a record time,” said Ring. “It’s really to meet as many Gold Star families as possible along the way, to really hear their stories and carry on the legacy of their loved ones.”

Ring started the swim on June 6th. Right now, the plan is to make it to the Gulf of Mexico by the middle of December, which would mean swimming an average of 14 miles a day. Once he finishes the trip, he’ll become the first American to swim the entire length of the river.