My Journey

As a competitive open water swimmer, I am intrigued by the opportunity to swim in various bodies of water, including rivers. I plan to conduct a multistage solo swim tracing the journey of the water droplets from my front yard. Stage one will start from my house and include a 3 mile hike along Soldiers Creek followed by a 16 mile boat journey through shallow and alligator infested Lake Jesup, ending at Marina Island located in Lake Monroe near downtown Sanford. From there, I will begin swim-only stages, completing approximately 20 mile swims on each of eight additional consecutive days.

I am a high school science teacher and have a driving desire to inspire and influence others, especially the next generation of Floridians. I plan to stop at points of interest along the way to document the importance of the St. Johns River System. I will highlights the river's glorious springs, untamed wildlife, and other biological wonders.  But, I will also show the impact of pollution and nutrient runoff and water over-sourcing.

With support from friends and family, I believe this journey will strengthen my mind and body.  Along the way, I will be able to address the importance of the St. Johns River System and its overall positive impact to the State of Florida.

Background & Purpose 

Mr. Luther Davis, a physics and astronomy teacher at Lake Mary High School  is accustomed to over-the-top teaching techniques and athletic endurance practices. Whether he has students smashing cinder blocks over his chest while lying on a bed of nails illustrating pressure or he is swimming 26 miles in a pool to fund scholarships for child swim lessons, he goes above and beyond pushing his limits ever further.  "I feel I can teach my students with interesting subject matter content and provide inspiration along the way," Davis says with a smile.  Davis finds a way to blend his professional teaching and personal athletic pursuits.

In the past he and his students have constructed a giant 1200-pound medieval siege throwing machine to demonstrate projectile motion and built a 10-hp lawnmower engine propelled hovercraft to illustrate principles or air pressure.  More recently, he and his students designed and built from scratch the country's first high school cable camera system for the school's football stadium.  Davis says, "I look at the unique projects I do with my students as more of a hobby.  I bring the students along as an integral part of the journey." 

He is a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education and goes out of his way to stimulate student interest. Going out of his way, as he says, "Usually means bigger is better, and more meaningful."

Why Swim So Far?
And now, Davis wants to swim for 164 miles as part of his 180 mile St. Johns River Journey. Pushing the limits of one's physical endurance challenges more than just the body, it challenges the mind.  As a competitive high school swimmer, Davis relied on natural ability and hard work.  Now that he's over 40, he relies on life lessons learned and mental fortitude gained since times long ago.  And yes, he still works hard now as well.  He's come to realize, that when swimming long distances, he can challenge himself in ways never imagined before.