On August 20 or 21, I am planning on swimming 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 is the 6200 ft (1897 m) altitude. The water will be 16-20 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.
It has never been swum by a Canadian!

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.
www.sashbear.org Thank you.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Publicity news

Exciting news. Sashbear has been sending out my press release. The Hamilton Spectator just published an article July 24 about me and Sashbear

And Lynn Courey and I will be filmed by CHCH TV today, July 25, for the 6 pm news.
The link is http://www.chch.com/swimming-lake-tahoe/

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.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Tracker link and more information

The tracker link will be: https://track.rs/tahoe/
The Lake Tahoe Marathon Swim Federation will be using this link all summer long so you will see other people's swims if you log in before my swim. After my swim, the tracker will be quickly replaced by the next swim on the schedule.

There is also a new link with updates about this year's Lake Tahoe swims:

And yes, I will be swimming with Tom, nicknamed "Reptile" and his boat, Ghostrider.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

July training swims

    Many people ask about my training.
     Once the water warms up and I can do longer open water swims, there are 2 key swims that are important to prove a swimmer can do the distance.
     In 2 weeks I will be doing the long swim, which will be 75% of the distance of Lake Tahoe. This year, I will do 3 laps of an 8.5 km circuit. In past years, for the long swim I have swum a lake, such as Lake Muskoka, Lake Joseph or Lake of Bays. In 2011, for the long swim, I swam Lake Simcoe, which was 34 km, the same distance as the English Channel, This was to prove to myself that I could still do it because it was my first year out of retirement. In 2015, I swam the 3 Provinces, which was actually 4 km further than the Cook Strait, but the point was to prove I could swim for a long time in 15-16 degree C. water.
     Towards the end of the month, I will do the split swim, which is an English Channel training concept. The goal is to do the distance of Lake Tahoe in 2 days.
     Another swim that I will also do in July is the Swim for the Cure. I have swum it 10 of the last 16 years. This swim is organized by a nurse friend from St. Joseph's Hospital, Debbie Bang, to raise money for breast cancer research. Over the last 16 years, this swim has raised over $238,000. The swim is 12.8 km down the Trent-Severn waterway. For more information:  www.swimforthecure.ca  If you are interested in supporting breast cancer research, the link for my donation page is:  http://convio.cancer.ca/site/TR/Thirdpartyevent/IFE_ON_CommunityPartnerships_?px=6939560&pg=personal&fr_id=23019#.WVCCHPkrLIV

Monday, 5 June 2017

Gulliver's Lake Park

I am excited to report that Gulliver's Lake in Flamborough is supporting my training again this year, the 5th year in a row! Thank you Gulliver's for my free pass! 
Gulliver's is a beautiful spring fed quarry that warms up way before any of the other larger lakes and is perfect for early season open water training. Lots of triathletes and scuba divers use the lake for their training and lessons.
It's an awesome place for a picnic, too.