Holland-area man swims across Lake Erie to raise money for swim lesson scholarships

Dr. Bryan Huffman, a Holland-area ophthalmologist, swam across Lake Erie in
the early hours of Friday, June 28. His journey began off the coast of Dunkirk, New York, and ended at Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada, where he crawled on shore after 16 hours and 22 minutes in the water.

“Lake Erie was a great adventure for everyone involved,” says Huffman. “I think that anyone who goes on this type of swim comes away a bit changed.”
Bryan Huffman with his wife, Stacy.
Huffman completed the 26.7-mile swim as part of a years-long effort to raise scholarship funds for Holland Aquatic Center’s (HAC) swimming instruction program.

As a college freshman at the University of Michigan, Huffman volunteered in an emergency room to gain exposure to the world of medicine. One night he witnessed a family’s grief after their young son died of an accidental drowning. Since then, he has championed the value of comprehensive swim instruction, and has completed several marathon swims to raise funds for HAC swim lesson scholarships.

Huffman’s marathon efforts began in 2022, when he swam from England to France across the English Channel. In 2023 he attempted a Lake Michigan crossing but was stopped midway by a mechanical failure on his support boat. Later that year, he swam 28.5 miles around the island of Manhattan, known as the 20 Bridges Swim.

He and his wife, Stacy, communicate with supporters through a Facebook group, where they post comprehensive updates before, during, and after each of these major undertakings. Each update concludes with a reminder to donate to HAC’s swim instruction scholarship fund and a link to make donating easy.

“The ultimate purpose of these swims is to raise awareness about the importance of ‘waterproofing’ kids,” Huffman says. “Our ultimate goal is to prevent countless tragedies by funding swim lessons for kids in West Michigan.”

Later this summer, Huffman will attempt to cross the Catalina Channel, which separates Santa Catalina Island from the Southern California mainland. 

A donation form and more information about Huffman’s activities can be found at https://hollandaquatic.org/bryans-big-swims/.

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