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Swimming Serendipity-39th Olympic Club Trans-Tahoe Relay

Serendipity-noun

1. an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
2. good fortune; luck
I seem to have a knack for serendipitous swimming related matters. 

A serendipitous email a week ago from my English Channel swimming friend Tim led to a great last couple days.  Tim who lives in Oakand said one of their relay team members for their Trans-Tahoe relay had just dropped out and wanted to know if I wanted to fill the spot. Knowing that I live on the East coast and that Lake Tahoe isn’t necessarily easy to get too he thought it was a long shot…not so! The swim was on Saturday 7/18 and little did he know I needed to be in San Diego Sunday afternoon for business. Serendipity!!!

I got to Lake Tahoe on Friday mid-morning. Wow-I forgot how beautiful it is! The azure blue water is incredible. There was quite a bit of time to kill before I met my relay team. I rented a beach cruiser bike and went for a ride along the lake . Stopped by a deli got a sandwich and had a picnic in the beach. Took a short nap and went for dip in the lake. Cool but very refreshing. Late afternoon met up with my friend Matt for a swim by the Trans-Tahoe finish line at Skylandia beach.  Following that swim I went for a short swim at Kings Beach with my team mates followed by a captains meeting and Mexican dinner.  Tim, Eman and I made the trek back down to South Lake and to bed as we had an early bell in the morning to drive the boat north.
(Sunnyside area beach for picnic)
We got to the South Lake Tahoe Marina at 5:15am when it opened as we needed to drive our pontoon boat north to the start at Sand Harbor Beach for a 7:40am start. The air temp was a bit cool and the lake was pretty calm as we started out. When we got to Sand Harbor it was pretty choppy with dark threatening rain clouds.

(Sunrise over Lake Tahoe)

(Part of the team)

So here is how the swim works. There are about two hundred 6 person teams and each relay team member cycles through with a 30 minute swim, a 15 minute swim and then a 10 minute swim until you  hit the finish line at Skylandia beach just off Dollar Point. The start is a zoo as there were roughly 230 escort and safety boats looking for their swimmers coming out the channel with three wave starts. This was the 39th year so the organizers had it all figured out and it sorted itself out fairly easily.

(the start Sandy Harbor Beach)
After a bit we found our first swimmer Sean and we settled into our rotation (I was number 6). The first couple legs were pretty choppy, overcast and pretty cool air temp. By the fourth leg it was beautiful and sunny out. Donning my stars & stripes Budgy Smuggler I was raring to go when it was my turn. Despite the water being mild 65-67 degrees there was still brief gasp because of the cold. Within moments I settled in was trying to run down the sailboat ahead.  The cool translucent blue water is simply amazing feeling and looking as the sunlight shines as your hand pulls through the water. I finished our first rotation and we moved through our second round of 15 minute pulls. By the time I got done with mine the red channel marker to the finish was well in sight.  We had two 10 minute pulls left with Tim appropriately bringing it home to the finish.

(on the course)

Post swim we anchored with the scores of boats near the finish line, enjoyed a couple beers and told stories about our current, past and future swims. We pulled up anchor and settled in for the scenic ride back down to South Lake. At one point we stopped and turned off the ignition on our pontoon boat and just drifted in the middle of the lake marveling at the thousands of years old scenic beauty around us-stunning!

(finish line area)
Perfect day. Will I do it again? Absolutely. My only wish would be to spend more time in the crisp cool water.

What serendiptous swim is next?

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