On August 20 - 21, 2017, I swam the length of Lake Tahoe from Camp Richardson, California in the south to Hyatt Beach, Nevada in the north, a distance of 34 km. The major challenge was the 6200 ft (1897 m) altitude. The water was 20 deg. C. It is 500 m deep and only the top few meters warm up. The strong mountain winds can blow the warm water away (allowing the cold water to surface) and have been known to push swimmers backwards.The length of Lake Tahoe has been swum 43 times, including 2 double crossings. Nationalities include 37 Americans and one each from the UK, New Zealand, Australia and Serbia.
I am the oldest woman and the first Canadian to swim Lake Tahoe!

For those of you who don't know me, I swam Lake Ontario the easy way in 1983 and the hard way in 1984, becoming the first person to have swum it in both directions. I "came out of retirement" to swim the English Channel in 2011, winning the Van Audenaerde cup for the toughest endurance feat of the year. In 2013, I was the oldest Canadian to swim the Catalina Strait in California. After swimming around Manhattan Island in 2014 (oldest Canadian), I became the first Canadian to complete the coveted Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming (English Channel, Catalina and Manhattan). In 2015, I was the first person to swim between three provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. In March 2016, I fulfilled a 3 year long dream, to be the first Canadian (and oldest woman) to swim across the icy, treacherous Cook Strait between the South and North Islands of New Zealand. In August 2016, I swam across Cape Cod, becoming only the 9th person and the first Canadian to swim this historic Pilgrim route across the shark infested swirling tidal waters. (See links below for more detail.)

I am excited to be able to use this opportunity to raise money for Sashbear, an organization founded by Lynn Courey, whose daughter, Sasha, a swimmer who suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), died by suicide in 2011. Sashbear funds education programs for therapists, families and in schools. I have dedicated my psychiatric career to the treatment and research of BPD, which has a suicide rate of 10%. More treatment programs and support for families are desperately needed in Canada. Please support my swim and help reduce
suicide and mental health stigma by donating to Sashbear
http://sashbear.org/en/events-main/events-2/lake-tahoe-swim Thank you.

Friday, 14 July 2017

A month to departure

   In addition to putting in the most mileage per week of the season in the last 4 weeks before departure, I am busy with a lot of swim organization. There is a lot to do.
   First of all, I am working on the fundraising by sending out my flyer and blog address far and wide and helping Sashbear with the publicity.
   I have been ordering swim suits from a variety of places. I finally found the perfect suit - the Speedo aquablade record breaker. It is made of a durable polyester lycra blend that is slicker than skin and significantly reduces drag and it has water-channeling stripes that streamline water away from your body. The best part is the fit.
   I am helping my crew understand their roles and get organized for the trip.
   I am ordering my high tech feeds from a variety of places. I have to have new sealed containers for the border. (You wouldn't want them trying to guess the identity of the mystery white powder in the baggie). This year I am going with Waxy Maize for calories, Maxim electrolyte-maltodextrin for electrolytes, Hammer's Perpetuem for energy and electrolytes, and Boost, which has more nutrition than I need but never upsets my stomach. I also have to order a special easily absorbed Magesium supplement to prevent muscle cramping.
   I am updating the maps on my GPS and getting road maps from CAA.
   I am searching the websites for Walgreens and Rite Aid, which are drugstores that are nearby, to make sure they have the medications my crew and I need for emergencies, so I don't have to pack them. This includes nausea, pain, acid reflux, sunburn, and skin abrasion remedies. Fortunately I don't have to shop for jellyfish remedies this time.
   Oh, and I forgot to mention that the physiotherapist and my trainer have given me a total of 15 different exercises to do daily to keep my joints balanced and pain-free.
   Finally, I am updating my packing list.

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