History's First Current-Neutral 100-Mile Swim

History’s First Current-Neutral 100-Mile Swim

Courtesy of Elaine Howley, Lake Champlain, New York-Vermont.

A few days after Caroline Block attempted a two-way crossing of the North Channel, fighting gallantly for 28 hours 55 minutes, and the same day that Chloë McCardel announced her four-way 136 km English Channel crossing between August 29th and September 2nd, Sarah Thomas walked into calm water of Lake Champlain situation along the Canada-United States border.

After swimming 80 miles (128.7 km) in a solo crossing of Lake Powell along the Arizona-Utah border in the USA in October 2016, a swim that took her 56 hours 5 minutes, Thomas is upping the ante and pushing herself to cross the 100-mile threshold.

She’s doing really well [so far], reported Elaine Howley of the Marathon Swimmers Federation. “The water is glassy, almost no wind at all. We got rained on a little this afternoon, but the storms we’d been concerned about never materialized.”

So far, so good on the first day of the potential 72-hour swim.

The Marathon Swimmers Federation described her 104.6 mile (168.3 km) course in Lake Champlain. “This is a loop-style course starting in Rouses Point, New York, proceeding south and around Gardiner Island near Charlotte, Vermont without landing, and returning to the start.”

In Lake Powell last year, even after over 56 hours swimming constantly, Thomas looked remarkably fresh as if she had at least 20 miles left in her. Her stroke looked good and her pace held strong and steady. She was smiling and talking and even joking a bit with the crowd that had witnessed the longest lake swim in history.

Anyone who knows me and who saw me finish last year’s Lake Powell swim had to know one thing: 80 miles wasn’t my limit. For me, swimming is about testing myself mentally and physically. It’s about doing things that are fun, but also hard and sometimes scary with a huge possibility of failure,” Thomas posted online.

She described her motivation to crack the mythical 100-mile mark. “Once, I thought my limit was a 10k open water swim. With each swim I’ve done, I’ve learned something that has made me stronger and after finishing Lake Powell last year, I knew without a doubt – I could have gone further. We barely made it home before my husband and I were talking about the impossible – 100 miles. With a little (ok a lot) of a nudge from my friend Jamie Patrick, we committed.”

Her support team of 13 include observers Evan Morrison and Elaine Howley, husband Ryan Willis, mother Becky, sister Melody, cousin Alex, kayaker Scott Olson, photographer Ken Classen, pilot Phil White, navigators Andrew Malinak and Craig Lenning, and chief encouragement officer Cathy Delneo, and researcher and course coordinator Karl Kingery.

Follow her course here.

Additional articles on her swim include Swimming Through The Night With Vampires, Dramatic Data On Sarah Thomas’ Century Swim, Sarah Thomas’ Beamonesque Century Swim, and Supporting And Crewing On Sarah Thomas’ Century Swim.

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Steven Munatones