Intent to Swim Lake Tahoe.

Night Train Swimmers’ 339 mile San Francisco – Santa Barbara relay swim this September. I wanted to challenge my body and prove to myself that I was in the best physical condition possible for this mammoth adventure down the coast of California.

Lake Tahoeseemed like the obvious choice for my training swim. A mere four hour drive from San Francisco, an enclosed body of water with no concerns for selecting the right tide, this swim could be conveniently completed on a weekend of my choosing.

Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the US; stretching 22 miles lengthwise and 11 miles across the width, this beautiful pristine lakeborders the California-Nevada state line and is at an altitude of 6225 feet (1897 m).  I planned to swim the 22 mile length.

Nothing like training for an ALTITUDE and fresh waterswim at sea level!! The only time I'm ever at altitude is when I'm flying home to New Zealand, in a pressurized aircraft cabin. And I never swim in fresh water. So... combining the altitude and lack of bouyancy from the saltwater of the ocean, I knew this swim would be a challenge. And that’s exactly why I wanted to swim it. I wanted to push myself beyond my imaginable boundary and point to that big blue spot on the map of California, and say, “I swam that.”


5 days after completing my Cook Strait swim, I filed my “Intent to Swim Lake Tahoe.”

While I followed my training plan religiously, I discovered that the first couple of months just didn’t seem to click. With no real connection to Lake Tahoe (I didn’t spend my childhood summers/winters at the lake and it's not home) I found it difficult mentally to muster the same focus and determination that drove my training and preparation for the Cook Strait. And, to be perfectly honest, it seemed a little boring. To me it was just a lake - a body of water without scary wildlife to contend with and crazy tides to battle. Nope, no adrenalin in this swim I thought...