Swimming the length of Lake Tahoe was an adventure of a lifetime. It was an incredible experience to swim in such pristine water and see the panoramic view of the surrounding mountains. Because of the horrible forest fires in Northern California, South Lake Tahoe had frequent health warnings due to haze and smoke. I was fortunate on August 7 that the winds shifted from the East and I did not have any issues breathing in smoke. My crew, Chris and Jean Gallant did an incredible job. They were a huge support. My boat pilot Tom Linthicum is highly knowledgeable on swimming Lake Tahoe. He has completed it three times. I would highly recommend Tom as a pilot. He truly wants to see every swimmer succeed no matter how long it takes. His co-pilot David Pennington was extremely helpful along with Observer Robyn Rose.
My swim of Lake Tahoe was very challenging due to the high altitude of 6,225 feet above sea level. My hometown in Maine is 75 feet above sea level. Before my swim, my nephew Chris wrote his father's name on my arm and my sister-in-law Jean wrote my brother Johnny and my mom on my arm. My swim was in memory of them. As I started my swim from Camp Richardson, I felt like I was breathing in a paper bag for the first ten minutes. It was awful! I decided to swim slower and it made a tremendous difference. Water temperature and air temperature were very comfortable at 9pm. After sunset, air temperature dropped significantly to mid-forties. I started to feel cold within three of hours of my swim. After swimming for nearly seven hours, I could feel mild hypothermia starting. I felt like quitting but decided to swim until sunrise. I knew from experience that I would feel better at sunrise. Sunrise was a spectacular sight. Chris and Jean alternated kayaking in 4 hour shifts initially then to two hour shifts. They were extremely busy the whole time monitoring my stroke, giving me feeds, and encouraging me every stroke of the way. When I reached the half-way mark at the tenth hour, I knew my swim would take at least 20 hours. What I didn't expect was the strong currents during the last three miles of my swim. I felt like I was swimming in place. I wanted to quit several times because I didn't feel like I was getting anywhere. Chris was kayaking and repeatedly told me that I was making progress but I felt like I was swimming in an eddy. Currents were swirling and I felt like I was not going to make it to the finish line. I decided to listen to my crew and boat crew because I knew my though process was getting a little fuzzy due to mild hypothermia. I reached the finish line and set a new record for the oldest person to swim the length of Lake Tahoe at the age of 67 and 186 days. And, set another record for having the slowest time of 20 hours and 32 seconds.
It was a wonderful surprise to be greeted at the finish line by several people. Many thanks to Jason Grant and Jarmila Carrie for traveling a great distance to see me finish.
I would like to thank my crew for an outstanding job. Thank you to Tom Linthicum, David Pennington, and Robin Rose...fantastic boat crew. Thank you to my family and friends for their support. A special thank you to my daughter Sarah for her frequent updates on Facebook. A special thank you to my training partner Yoko Aoshima. And, thank you to Swimsuit for All for their sponsorship. Now, onto to my next swim of Loch Ness scheduled for next week.
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