Rogers becomes first local to swim length of Lake Tahoe |

Rogers becomes first local to swim length of Lake Tahoe

Sylas Wright, Tribune News Service

After a lifetime of dreaming, Karen Rogers can scratch “swim Lake Tahoe” from her to-do list.

What began as a promise at age 7 to swim the full length of Tahoe became a reality Wednesday, as the Tahoe City mother of two completed the 21.55-mile swim from Camp Richardson to Hyatt Beach in Incline Village in 10 hours, 50 minutes.

She said she’s the first local swimmer to pull off the feat.

“It went really smooth,” Rogers said on Thursday. “From start to finish, it was a pretty easy day.”

Rogers, who left Camp Richardson at 3:24 a.m., swam into a festive atmosphere at Hyatt Beach, where hundreds of friends, family members and vacationers applauded her arrival.

“There were a lot of people and everyone was cheering, so that was exciting to swim into that,” said Rogers, who finished well ahead of her projected time of 12 to 14 hours. “I got up, ripped my cap off my head and spiked it.”

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Feeling no need to sit down, Rogers said she mingled with her supporters immediately after the swim, then “ate a lot of food” as friends barbecued tri-tip and halibut at the after-party. She then went home and caught up on some well-earned rest.

Over the course of the nearly 22-mile swim, Rogers said she struggled at about the 3 1/2-hour point, when muscles tightened up in her shoulders and back. Her support crew fed her a large dose of Cytomax energy gel, which she said helped her swim through the pain until it receded.

Rogers was paced by two local swimmers at various times during the day. Her regular swim partner, Rob Burks of Truckee, swam a total of 3 1/2 hours in several intervals, while Truckee’s Brittany Percin, an up-and-coming open-water swimmer at age 12, paced her for an hour.

Besides some stiffness in her shoulders, as well as some “really sore cheeks from smiling so much,” Rogers said she felt great physically on Thursday.

Next up, for Rogers is the 11 1/2-mile Maui Channel in Hawaii on Memorial Day.

It shouldn’t pose a problem.