Ken Harmon, a FINIS sponsored athlete, attempted to complete the first double-crossing of Lake Tahoe without a wetsuit on August 22nd. Ken ultimately decided to call off the swim after 10.2 miles and 5 hours of swimming due to weather conditions and water temperature. The double-crossing would have been a total distance of 44 miles. Despite the setback, Ken successfully raised over $25,000 for Best Buddies International, The Down Syndrome Network of Northern Nevada and the Karen Gaffney Foundation.
The attempt was initially delayed a full-day due to the rough weather conditions that advised small craft to stay off the lake. The rough, choppy conditions caused water temperatures to drop to 59 degrees by sunset. During one of his 90 second feeding breaks, Ken made the decision to stop the attempt.
Ken notes that he had incredible support from fellow swimmers who alternated as pacers. Karen Gaffney, who has down syndrome and has successfully swum the width of Lake Tahoe, helped pace Ken along with Craig Klass, two time Water Polo Olympian (‘88 & ’92). Joe Londeree and Monique Londeree also served as pacers for Ken as they switched each half hour and were critical in providing the supply line from the mother ship to the kayaker.
Ken appreciated the swim caps provided by FINIS, noting that “the swim caps were extremely comfortable and provided excellent warmth. I never needed any adjusting whatsoever during the ten re-fueling breaks. Five years ago when I swam the length of Tahoe with an inferior swim cap, I constantly needed adjustment with each stop.”
Z2 Zoomers, contributed by FINIS, were also an important part of Ken’s training regimen because they helped Ken mimic swimming at higher altitude: “When you swim a set with the Z2 fins, the legs are more involved with the kick than usual, taking more oxygen and providing the feeling that you are swimming at a higher altitude. The increased propulsion with the fins also makes you take a faster breath when turning to breathe, which perfectly simulates breathing at high altitudes.”
Photo Credits: Will Schermerhorn, Blueberry Shoe Productions, LLC