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Olympic swimmer Shanteau brings cancer fundraiser to town

Eric Shanteau acknowledges the crowd from the podium after setting a new American record while winning the finals of the men's 200 meter breaststroke at the U.S. National Swimming Championships in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 11, 2009.

Eric Shanteau acknowledges the crowd from the podium after setting a new American record while winning the finals of the men's 200 meter breaststroke at the U.S. National Swimming Championships in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 11, 2009.

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U.S. Eric Shanteau competes in a men's 200m Breaststroke heat at the FINA Swimming World Championships in Shanghai, China, Thursday, July 28, 2011.

Eric Shanteau's training site keeps shifting more and more to the west. As for his cancer support fundraiser, that stays close to home.

The Parkview grad and 2008 Olympic swimmer will host Eric Shanteau's Swim For Your Life, an open-water race and clinic at Lake Lanier Islands Resort on Saturday to benefit Lance Armstrong's LiveStrong initiative. It's the second year of the event run by Shanteau, who famously put off his own cancer treatment until after the Olympics.

Last year's event also was held at Lake Lanier, not far from Berkeley Lake, where Shanteau did his open water training with SwimAtlanta.

"Lanier has been great to us," said Shanteau, who flew in Tuesday night to spend time with family and begin preparations for this weekend. "It's an amazing venue and that beach is incredible to have. They have a nice, long cove that we can keep blocked off from boats. We look at sites from year to year, but at this point I'd like to keep it at Lanier because that's the lake I grew up on."

It's also close to Shanteau's hometown and former swim club, which will send a group of swimmers to Saturday's one-mile and 5K races. Those will be followed by a brief awards ceremony, lunch on the resort's beach and a 1:30 p.m. open water clinic with some of the country's elite swimmers.

Shanteau will be joined by Brookwood grad Amanda Weir (a 2004 Olympian), two-time Olympian Mark Gangloff, 2008 Olympian Kathleen Hersey, two-time Olympian and three-time medal winner Katie Hoff and Tyler McGill, a bronze medalist at this year's FINA World Championships.

The large group of Americans at the clinic also will feature Ous Mellouli, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist in the 1,500-meter freestyle. He is the first African male swimmer to win Olympic gold in an individual event.

NBC and ESPN commentator Rowdy Gaines, a three-time Olympic gold medalist and member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, will host the post-race awards ceremony.

"USA Swimming has really gotten behind me on this and allowed me to bring more national team kids out for this," Shanteau said. "It should be a fun time. With Rowdy Gaines announcing it, it should be a bigger show with more people and more excitement.

"You don't see many events with six or seven people from the national team in one place. It's also a pure charity event. Sponsors have covered the other expenses, so everything we get goes directly to Lance Armstrong's foundation."

Shanteau, who just turned 28, is still swimming competitively himself. After graduating from Auburn, he trained up to his Olympic appearance and beyond in Austin, Texas, with a large group of post-college swimmers. That group began dwindling, so he relocated to the University of Southern California in February.

At USC, he trains in a pro group with some of the world's best, including the breaststroker he chases at most international meets --two-time Olympic champion and world-record holder Kosuke Kitajima of Japan.

When Shanteau's not training, he's usually traveling. He is on a current stretch of eight straight weekends of appearances, either for his sponsors or to support other events. It's a tiring schedule, but he's enjoying it.

He's also cancer-free, though he gets blood tests twice a year to confirm that. He had his three-year test this week in Atlanta and he should know the results next week.

"All has been clean and clear so far (with the cancer) and I'm not expecting anything different," Shanteau said.

Swimmers interested in Saturday's races can register all the way up to the morning of the event. For more information, go to www.ShanteauOpenWater.com.

IF YOU GO

What: Eric Shanteau's Swim For Your Life

When: Saturday

Where: Lake Lanier Islands Resort

Online: www.ShanteauOpenWater.com

Schedule:

8 a.m. --Race registration

9:30 a.m. -- 1-mile and 5K open water swimming races

11:30 a.m. -- Awards ceremony

12:30 p.m. -- Lunch on the beach

1:30 p.m. -- Open water clinic by Olympic swimmers, followed by 12-and-under's 500-yard junior swim