Intrepid Superhero Pets: Umbra, Natural Born Swimmer

Umbra, a Labrador/Greyhound mix, was adopted by the famous long distance swimmer Ted Erikson in 1990 in Chicago. She began swimming tandem with Ted in Lake Michigan during the summer of 1991, establishing a benchmark of a 32-minute mile. Over the summer of 1992, Umbra decreased her mile time to 28.5 minutes and covered distances up to three miles!

Natural born swimmer

Umbra continued to develop unique swimming skills and earned a historic four events with The Guinness Book of World Records:

  • A round trip Peace River crossing in Port Charlotte, Fl on 3/9/94 (2.4 miles,65 min.)
  • An open water Lake Michigan swim in Chicago, IL on 7/10/94 (2.7 miles, 72 min.)
  • A Bosphorus crossing (Asia to Europe) in Turkey on 7/22/95 (~2 miles, 31 min.)
  • Big Shoulders Masters Lake Swim in Chicago, IL on 9/8/96 (3.1 miles, 77 min.)

Her best unofficial record is a whopping 5.5 miles in just 2 hours and 40 minutes. She's logged well over 600 miles in tandem swimming with Ted!

Umbra competed... against men!

In 1997, she was invited by the Turkish Olympic Committee to swim in their annual competition, finishing about 40th in a field of ~200 swimmers (4.3 miles, 73 min.). This incredible story was covered by a National Geographic Explorer's TV documentary, "WONDER DOG". 

Umbra is the perfect example of a beautiful relationship between a dog and his owner can break records. She deserves the title of "Intrepid Superhero Pet"!