Carson swimmers conquer Tahoe
Tribune News Serrvice
CARSON CITY, Nev. – Tatum Boehnke and Ryan Hogan accomplished a huge feat last year when they swam the English Channel.
Boehnke, a soon-to-be sophomore at Northern Colorado, decided she was ready for another open-water swim.
“I wanted to do it myself (cross Lake Tahoe, a distance of 11 miles),” Boehnke said. “The idea came over Christmas vacation, but it was unrealistic. I wasn’t prepared.
“Ryan wanted to do another swim, but he’s not swimming anymore so he wasn’t sure he would make it.”
So, the former Carson High swimmer opted for a 22-mile swim in a relay format. She got Tigersharks coach Gaby Phalan, Hogan, Beth Lewis, Jacob Cornwall and Elizabeth Everist to join her on the excursion from Tahoe Keys in South Lake Tahoe to Ski Beach, located near Incline Village.
“She (Boehnke) likes open-water swims,” said Phalan, who coached Boehnke on the Carson Tigersharks. “Doing stuff like that is a lot of fun for her.”
The relay format isn’t uncommon, according to Phalan.
Phalan said the swimmers went in 20-minute segments. Spending much more time in the icy waters of Lake Tahoe would have made it difficult. She said some of the swimmers swam five segments and others swam four. The entire group got out of the boat and swam into shore to finish the nine-hour adventure. When not in the water, swimmers were in a support boat offering encouragement to their teammates.
“We did regular training (to get ready),” Phalan said. “It was a beautiful day. It was a good day to do it.”
Boehnke was the first to hit the water a little before 6:30 a.m. The early start was to catch as much calm water as possible, and to avoid swimming in the wind which makes the water very choppy.
“I definitely didn’t want to start at 2:30 a.m. like I did when Ryan and I swam the English Channel,” Boehnke said. “I wouldn’t do that again.
“It (the water) wasn’t too bad, but I started from the shore where it was probably a little warmer. It stayed pretty smooth for the whole day.”
The only real issue came around 7 a.m. after Cornwell had swam his first segment.
It was his first open-water swim and he opted not to use a wetsuit. He wasn’t quite prepared for the 55 degree water temperature, which was a far cry from the 78-degree temperature that the practice pool is kept in.
“It was pretty early and really cold,” Cornwell said. “I got in around 6:40 for my 20-minute swim. Once I got into the (support) boat, I started shivering.
“I swim a lot of triathlons and I don’t wear a wet suit for those, just a swim suit. I just didn’t want to wear one. I know what to expect now.”
Boehnke teasingly said that Cornwell “is all skin and bones.” She said that Cornwell had a hard time adjusting.
Boehnke and Hogan didn’t wear wetsuits either.
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