Posted Date: Wednesday, June 13, 2012

by JADE MINGUS / KVUE NEWS and photojournalist JUSTIN TERRY

AUSTIN -- It was a grueling 21-mile journey that took 13 hours to complete. Jaime Slaughter swam from Mansfield Dam to Tom Miller Dam -- a feat that took roughly 40,000 strokes. The journey is about the same distance as swimming the English Channel.

"Sometimes I was thinking, 'What have I gotten myself in to?' I knew inside I could do it," said Slaughter.

Slaughter was at the pool at Lifetime Fitness in South Austin when four-year-old Colin Holst nearly drowned and later died. He tried to resuscitate him. At the time, Slaughter was a bystander, just a stranger who tried to help. Today he serves on the board of Colin's Hope, the non-profit Colin's parents started after his death.

"I hope people take away that something great has come from a horrible loss," said Slaughter.

Colin's Hope exists to bring awareness to child safety and prevent drownings. A majority of child drownings happen in family pools.

"We miss him dearly. There is nothing we can do to bring him back, but doing events like this, we can prevent other families from going through the same tragedy," said Colin's father Jeff Holst.

Holst kayaked alongside Slaughter on the last four miles of his swim. It took Slaughter 13 hours to swim from Mansfield Dam to Tom Miller Dam.

Thursday Colin's Hope is sponsoring the world's largest swim lesson at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in New Braunfels. It begins at 10 a.m. and will include hundreds of swimmers.