Swimming The Length of Lake Tahoe

Alex Camerino |
Swimming Tahoe
Kate Rye was a 4-time freestyle state champion while swimming in high school. Now she has completed the iconic Lake Tahoe Length swim. Photo: RGJ

Kate Rye became the latest person to swim the length of Lake Tahoe this past week. Rye grew up in Incline Village by the shores of Lake Tahoe. In high school, she was a competitive swimmer winning the freestyle state championships for her division four years in a row. Now enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno she has refocused her swimming on triathlons and distance events.

Swimming the length of Lake Tahoe takes skill, determination, and a good support team. The feat typically begins on the South Shore of the lake at Camp Richardson Beach. After swimming 21.3 miles, Ski Beach in Incline Village marks the end of the marathon swim. Rye began the swim at 5 am. Just 10.5 hours later she was walking out of the water elated at her accomplishment. She said the last few miles were the hardest due to winds creating waves on the vast lake.

Lake Tahoe Length swim
The Lake Tahoe Length swim is one of the hardest marathon swims due to the lake’s elevation. Photo: LTOWSA

“In your career, sports, and life in general, mental strength is what is going to lead you to your goals. If you put your mind to something, you can accomplish it.”

Kate Rye

There have been 70 (documented) successful swims lengthwise across Lake Tahoe. In 2013, two individuals swam the length of the lake and back taking 22.5 and 24.5 hours. Kate Rye is one of the youngest people to have completed the impressive swim. Most people would never even dream of swimming that far, not to mention doing it at 6,224 feet above sea level. However, Kate says, “There is just a sense of peace you get while swimming that far of a distance.” While physical strength is required for the swim, mental strength is more important according to Rye.

Swim complete
After 10.5 hours and 21.3 miles of swimming, Kate Rye walks to shore at Ski Beach. Photo: TDT

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