Wind stops Llewellyn short of East Shore during trans-Tahoe swim to support nonprofit FindingHUP | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Wind stops Llewellyn short of East Shore during trans-Tahoe swim to support nonprofit FindingHUP

Anthony Gentile
agentile@tahoedailytribune.com

Despite not making it from shore to shore during his attempt at a Trans-Tahoe swim, Ric Llewellyn considers it a success. The one-time South Shore resident and endurance athlete attempted to swim the lake from west to east Wednesday, Aug. 24, and ended in the afternoon a mile off the shore at Nevada Beach.

“We got a late start,” the 61-year-old Llewellyn said, “and it cost us a successful crossing.”

Llewellyn’s Lake Tahoe swim doubled a fundraising event for FindingHUP, a nonprofit started by his friend Mark Bender. The organization based out of Washington accumulates adaptive sports equipment for people with spinal cord injuries.

“Swimming shore to shore was one goal, but drawing attention to the opportunities that exist for people with spinal cord injuries was the No. 1 goal,” Llewellyn said. “FindingHUP can offer truly life-saving hope for people by getting them out of the chair and back in the mix with adaptive sports solutions.”

Last Wednesday, Llewellyn left the beach near Vikingsholm in Emerald Bay at 8:10 a.m. — later than his planned start time of dawn. The swim piloted by local Jim Greenwood began with flat surface conditions and calm winds, and progressed well through noon.

“We had initially planned to be done by 11:30 a.m. or noon,” Llewellyn said. “I was getting tired and pretty cold, and the wind waves were making it impossible for me to maintain my form in the water.”

Conditions on the lake’s surface began to worsen by 1:30 p.m. as the wind picked up, then swimming progress became nearly impossible. At 2:20 p.m., the swim’s observer called it off and Llewellyn got out of the water about a mile off Nevada Beach — by that time, swells ranged from 1-2 feet.

Llewellyn said the swimming experience was unbelievable despite coming up short of the East Shore. It has been a secret ambition of his for a few years — and he said not to be surprised to see him try it a second time next summer.

“I feel like it’s been a great success for Mark and his nonprofit, but now I know a shore to shore swim is possible for me,” Llewellyn said.

For more information on Llewellyn’s attempt, find Marathon4Mark on Facebook. FindingHUP is online at http://www.findinghup.org.