Jamie Patrick's En Route To The Tahoe Triple

Jamie Patrick’s En Route To The Tahoe Triple

Jamie Patrick completed a wetsuit-clad 44-mile double-crossing of Lake Tahoe in 25 hours and 26 minutes on August 15th.

The Daily News of Open Water Swimming asked him a variety of questions regarding his day- and night-long exploit.

The Daily News: How did you prepare yourself mentally for this swim?
Jamie With psychologist Paige Dunn. We worked on using the fear I had as a positive. We broke the swim into small sections and prepared for each section. I train myself during my workouts to visualize these sections. Creating milestones, small accomplishments was a vital part of my mental training.

She taught me how to feel privileged at every moment during the swim. To embrace the good and bad times.

The Daily News: How did you prepare yourself mentally for this swim?
Jamie: My main goal in preparing for this swim was to be consistent. To set a plan and follow it. I created milestone training swims to build confidence. I swam six days a week and built my yardage week after week. My longest week was 75,000 yards. My training partner Greg Larson and I did some amazing training swims together. We called them adventure swims. From crossing Clear Lake, Lake Berryessa, Lake Del Valle, Lake Tahoe and an 18-mile swim down the Sacramento River.

The Daily News: How many months did you train?
Jamie: 6 months.

The Daily News: In hindsight, was this training enough?
Jamie: My training was good enough to finish my goal. If I look back and if I did a few more long swims, I would have benefited from the experience.

The Daily News: How many people were on your support crew? What did they each do?
Jamie: I had a permanent crew of seven. Six on the chase boat and one in the kayak. The crew rotated from kayaking to driving the boat, to nutrition, to sleeping. I truly believe that to do an event like this, having the correct crew is vital. They must know you very well and understand what goes into an event like this. My entire crew has been apart of this journey. From training swims to other ultra events, they understood what it takes to be a member of the team. Matt Richardson was my crew chief. He prepared for the worst and expected the best. Having someone who handles any situation that arises without putting any concern on the swimmer is very important. I am lucky to have Matt on my team. In addition, I had a land based crew who would run equipment and supplies out to the chase boat when needed.

The Daily News: What was your feeding pattern during the swim?
Jamie: I fed every 20 minutes the first length of Lake Tahoe and then ran into some nutrition problems and struggled to eat on a regular basis.

The Daily News: What did you drink during the swim?
Jamie: Water, electrolyte mix, and Gatorade G Series Pro.

The Daily News: In hindsight, was your hydration and re-fueling plan sufficient?
Jamie: No. Looking back and due to the health problems I had, my nutrition was not satisfactory. My main goal going forward is to focus on my nutrition. I will be working with Stanford to develop a plan and program to make my swims more successful. Physically and mentally I prepared very well. If I can add a proper nutrition plan to my goals, I believe I can accomplish anything.

The Daily News: What kind of research are you going to do at Stanford?
Jamie: I have been in contact with Dr. Stacy Sims at the Stanford School of Medicine. I am hoping to work with her on developing a nutritional plan that will ultimately lead to a successful triple crossing of Lake Tahoe.

The Daily News: Did you undergo changes during the swim? What happened?
Jamie: My body went through many changes during this swim. I experienced extreme swelling and nausea due to my nutritional problems. My tongue swelled to the point where it was difficult to swallow. My the skin on my hands and feet shriveled up.

The Daily News: Did your shoulders or back or legs ever get tired?
Jamie: My shoulders did fairly well during the entire swim. Of course they hurt, but nothing out of the ordinary. The only true pain I experience was in my lower back.

The Daily News: Did you ever do backstroke or breaststroke during your swim?
Jamie: I swam a bit of breastroke after each feeding. Maybe ten strokes to change things up a bit and get my body back going again.

The Daily News: Did you ever get sleepy?
Jamie: Surprisingly, I did not get very sleepy. Tired – yes.

The Daily News: Were you able to sleep well the day before or day after your swim?
Jamie: I slept fairly well before the swim. Due to the fact that my swim did not start until late afternoon, I knew I could sleep in if I could not fall asleep until late. I did not sleep at all the night after the race. I spent the first night in ICU dealing with some kidney problems. Because I could not get anything in my body for the last six hours my body began to eat the protein in my muscles which clogged up my kidneys. I spent the night getting blood test every two hours. I received a total of 18 bags of fluid to try and flush the protein out. My body, which was already bloated, expanded to the point where my skin hurt from stretching so much. One my body began to flush everything out, I was able to sleep.

The Daily News: Why did you tackle Tahoe?
Jamie: Tahoe is in my backyard. I am working on a documentary about clean water. Lake Tahoe is the perfect background for our message.

The Daily News: What is next?
Jamie: Back to training this week. I have a few surprise swims that I will be doing leading up to The Tahoe Triple 2011. Stay tuned.

The Daily News: In order to do the Tahoe Triple, what will you have to change in terms of feeding or training?
Jamie: Well, I will definitely have to up my yardage and get some more consistent long swims in. In addition, my focus will be on preparing better nutritionally. I am excited about learning more about this sport. Being a rookie, I love to read about other swimmers adventures. This is a total learning process for me.

The Daily News: Which was harder: your triathlons, ultra-runs or the Tahoe Double? Why?
Jamie: There is no doubt that the Tahoe Double is the hardest thing that I have ever done.

The Daily News: Was it worth the effort?
Jamie: It was absolutely worth the effort. I consider it one of my greatest accomplishments. This journey has changed me forever.

The Daily News: What type of wetsuit did you use?
Jamie: It was a Sailfish.

The Daily News: Was it comfortable?
Jamie: Yes, I swam in this wetsuit for 25 plus hours and had not a bit of chaffing. The flexibility and comfort are truly amazing.

The Daily News: Did you use skin lubricants or sunscreen?
Jamie: I used Vaseline on my neck and arms and zinc on my face.

The Daily News: Will you use the same wetsuit for the Tahoe Triple?
Jamie: I do not know if I will use a wetsuit for the Tahoe Triple. My good friend and fellow swimmer Karen Rogers is determined to help me get acclimated to cold water. If I do use a wetsuit, it will definitely be a Sailfish.

The Daily News: Did you feet or hands ever get cold?
Jamie: No.

The Daily News: What type of swim cap did you use?
Jamie: Neoprene.

The Daily News: Is what you did within the capabilities of the average person?
Jamie: That is hard questions to answer. I do believe that everybody has the ability to do something great. I am an average person who decided to do something above average. We all have it in us. You just have to decide to go for it.

The Daily News: What does it take for others to do what you did?
Jamie: The ability to believe in yourself. To take fear and turn it into fuel.

Copyright © 2010 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones