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.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Getting organized

   We are spending today getting organized with equipment and foods, both for the crew and myself. I discussed the weather with the captain and we are aiming to start at 8:15 tomorrow night (11:15 p.m. Hamilton time).
   The Hamilton Spectator published a lovely article yesterday about the swim, emphasizing the suicide prevention work that Sashbear and I do.
   My crew includes Thie Convery, who swam Lake Erie in 2010 (20 km) and has been on most of my swims, Paula Jongerden, who swam the 44 km crossing of Lake Erie in 2002 and helped me swim to P.E.I., and my husband. We are honoured to have Jodi DiLascio as the official observer. Jodi is the daughter of Marilyn Bell DiLascio. In a touching moment this morning on the phone, Jodi thanked my mother for naming me after her mother.


  1. The article in the Spec was well done. I wish you all the luck in the world with your swim tonight. Although I am very confident you won't need it, you will breeze thru this swim. I also hope you raised the money u were hoping for. Good luck Doc!!!

  2. Ps will any of your swim be live on Facebook? I hope at least the beginning and end.

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  4. I wish you all the best on your swim! What an excellent and important cause to raise money for. Also wishing my mom, Paula Jongerden, a great swim. You all inspire me!!! -Charlotte