Lake Tahoe Open Water Swim

On July 18, 2015 I competed in my first open water swim in Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe is a gorgeous Lake wedged between mountains on the California, Nevada border and is fed by snowmelt. My five teammates and I embarked across the 13 mile width of Lake Tahoe in a relay race which took us just over 4 hours. Races of this length require substantial thought in the days leading up to it, making sure to get proper hydration and sleep were key to getting the most out of our performance. The water was roughly 63 degrees while the air temperature at the 7:30 AM start was 39 degrees. Despite the harsh morning conditions, the sun was able to push the temperature into the 70’s making the cold water a little easier to bear.

In the first round, each teammate took turns swimming 30-minute shifts. The second round consisted of 15 minute shifts. I was the second swimmer on our team so my first leg was from 8:00am to 8:30am. Right before jumping in I overheard the radio that some swimmers from other boats had gone into hypothermia. I thought "great, well here I go!" Although I am a very experienced swimmer, having swum competitively all my life and throughout my college career, nothing could have prepared me for the kind of conditions I had to face. Just the sheer shock of jumping in water that is 63 degrees is a feat in itself (keep in mind that regulation competition pool temperature is roughly 77 degrees) After my body went numb, my only goal was to swim towards one of the mountain peaks I saw in the distance. It didn't take long before I was disoriented by the perpetual white-capped waves that were rocking my body everywhere. When I got finished with the first leg of the race, I was dizzy, disoriented, and dehydrated. Thankfully we had people on the boat that were in charge of feeding us, giving us plenty of water to rehydrate properly, and handing us a warm jacket when we came out of the water shivering. With the sun out and the wind lessened, my second round of swimming was much more enjoyable than the first.


I consider myself crazy for having swum in a race of such wild conditions, but it was worth it. Swimming through it all with friends and family members bonded us tighter and made memories that I will take with me forever. Not to mention its pretty cool to finish the race, hang out on the beach with Olympic swimmers that put together their own relay teams, check your team's placement, get a t-shirt (because everyone loves t-shirts), and then spend the rest of the day being satisfied in the fact that you accomplished something great! :)

- Samantha Bosma

Tags: hydrate smarter, hydration, lake tahoe, open water swim, realy swim, rehydration, swim, swimming event, water