student conquers river
By RON POLLACK
Despite their valiant effort to make
the American League playoffs, the
Detroit Tigers sold at least one fan
down the river.
During the tail end of the baseball
season, Michigan senior Pat Aviotti
went to a Tigers game and saw the
Detroit River for the first time. At that
time Aviotti, a self-proclaimed
"physical conditioning freak," decided-
to swim from Grosse Isle to Canada last
"WHEN I SAW the river for the first
time it thrilled me," said Aviotti. "I
like to keep in shape and I felt that if I
could do it, it would prove that I'm in
shape. It was a goal I set for myself."
Aside from the challenge that it
would provide, Aviotti partook in the
one and three-quarter mile swim to do a
"I've never been to Canada," he ex-
plained. "I've never seen it. So at first
I thought I'd go through the tunnel or
across the Ambassador Bridge. But
then I said, 'No, I'll swim it.' The
ironic thing is that when I got there
(Canada) where it was to shallow to
swim, I stood up and hypothermia set
in. I passed out and my crew had to pull
me in. So I never actually saw Canada.
Photo Dy ryant GilOert
UNIVERSITY SENIOR Pat Aviotti braves the freezing waters of the Detroit
River last Sunday. Aviotti successfully completed a 42-minute swim from
Grosse Isle to Canada. Although happy with his performance, Aviotti said
that the next time he wants to see Canada, he will go there by car.
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I'll see it next time, but my car, a
AVIOTTI'S preference for a warm
form of transportation in his further
travels to Canada stems from his being
subjected to the extremely cold water
during his 42-minute swim.
"It was freezing," said Aviotti. "It
numbed me. It was so cold it burned. It
was like someone had a match to me.
My left side was so numb I couldn't
move it. I was losing cognition of where
I was. I told my crew that if I was ever
in trouble I'd wave. And when I started
walking in I was very dizzy. I tried to
wave both arms, but my left arm
wouldn't move. My feet were also
killing me from the cold, So I waved
my, right arm. It was pretty frozen, too,
so it wasn't much of a wave. I was
Numb arms, frozen feet, and
delirium - it doesn't sound like much
fun. Aviotti thought it was. "The swim
itself went a lot easier than I an-
ticipated," said the exercise physiology
major. "I had a pretty good time. The
wind pushing behind me helped a lot."
The Phoenix Suns of the Nationaly
Basketball Association announced
yesterday that they were releasing
former Michigan cager Paul Heuerman
from their roster. Heuerman, who star-
ted at center for the Wolverines the last
two years, was the fifth-round pick of
Phoenix in last June's NBA draft.
The 6-8 Akron, Ohio native had said
previously that he would seek the op-
portunity to play with another NBA
club or possibly play in a European
league if the Suns cut him.
AS MUCH AS He said he may have
enjoyed it, Aviotti nonetheless had,
thoughts of quitting.
"The opening 20 yards, believe it or
not, I felt like stopping," recalled
Aviotti. "After the first 20 yards I was
fine. But when I first jumped in, I
almost climbed right back on the boat.
That was the worst 20 yards I've ever
been through in my life.."
After he decided to continue, Aviotti
was faced with another decision. The
icy water prevented him from swimming
in the manner that he had planned, for-
cing him to make an adjustment. "I
wanted to freestyle, but every time I
put my head in the water it was so cold
that I'd get a headache," he said. "So I
The successful crossing of the Detroit
River left Aviotti contemplating what
feats he will attempt in the future and
what he would have done had he failed..
"When you stay in shape, you reach a
point where you do this not for
publicity, but to see what you can ac-
complish," said Aviotti. "It's one of
those things where, if I didn'ttmake it, I
could work to make it in the future. But
since I did it, I look to do something
bigger, faster or longer."
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