SCAR Swim: A Logistical Nightmare Is A Dream Come True

SCAR Swim: A Logistical Nightmare Is A Dream Come True

Day Two of the SCAR Swim Challenge – a 14 km swim across Canyon Lake in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona – begins tomorrow after an absolutely gorgeous Day One on Saguaro Lake.

Race director Kent Nicholas and his support crew run the most logistically challenging open water swimming operations that I have ever had the privilege to see – on any continent,” said Steven Munatones. “Of course, the swimmer check-in, safety network, communication protocols, goodie bags distribution, post-race meal (specialty burritos, fruit, cookies, beer, juices, water), and other such standard operational details were covered – but the delivery of 61 kayaks to two different locations on the lake, the transport of swimmers and kayakers in three distinct heats from the finish to a staging area and to the start – is mind-boggling complex. How Kent keeps track of all the myriad details is beyond me. And things go wrong – due to Mother Nature – and they roll with the body punches without skipping a beat.

Today’s conditions were ideal for warm-water swimmers and probably much too warm for the swimmers coming from more northern climates. Saguaro was flat and tranquil at the start, but only got a little bumpy towards the middle.”

While dozens of swimmers from around the world successfully zigzagged through way through the canyons of Lake Saguaro, Joe Zemaitis was pulling double duty – in more ways than one.

Zemaitis completed a two-way crossing in 7 hours 26 minutes 51 seconds. He recalls, “It was definitely got a little windy on the way back. I was hoping for a negative split, but the conditions didn’t cooperate.”

Not only did Zemaitis miss the pre-race dinner with the rest of the competitors because he was coaching his age group team (Swim Neptune), but he also raced home after his two-way 7 hour 26 minute swim to watch the webcast of USA Swimming World Championship Trials.  One of his swimmers from Swim Neptune, Keaton Jones, went 1:57.9 in the 200m backstroke to get 6th overall and make the Junior Pan Pacific Championship Team.  He said, “I made it home just in time to watch finals.”

So, not only is Zemaitis endeavoring to accomplish one of the most difficult solo swims of 2022, but he also takes time to coach and support his pool swimmers in the midst of his marathon swimming craziness.

Nicholas summed up the conditions on Day One at Lake Saguaro, “2022 was off to a great sunny start with mild headwind halfway into the Saguaro swim. Some debris in the water at the start, but swimmers and crew navigated without issue. Steven Munatones and Lura Wilhelm leading the pack on Day One.”

Lake Saguaro Results from Day One:

  1. Steven Munatones 3:14:03.6
  2. William Dichtel 3:32:34.3
  3. Lura Wilhelm 3:34:13.4
  4. Jordan Iverson 3:35:29.7
  5. James Savage 3:38:02.1
  6. Leslie Hamilton 3:41:30.6
  7. Stefan Reinke 3:41:46.8
  8. Van Cornwell 3:45:10.6
  9. Sydelle Harrison 3:51:45.7
  10. Marty Webster 3:53:34.6
  11. Martha Wood 3:54:59.2
  12. Tracy Knight 3:55:24.8
  13. Jorge Cortina 3:58:10.7
  14. Mark Spratt 4:02:01.8
  15. Neil Hailstone 4:02:21.5
  16. Steve Sutton 4:05:29.8
  17. Eric Durban 4:10:42.6
  18. Lars Durban 4:10:42.6
  19. Lauren Byron 4:10:42.6
  20. Tricia Elmer 4:10:42.6
  21. Andrew Wallace 4:12:47.8
  22. Lauren Hasselquist 4:19:19.5
  23. Wendy Van De Sompele 4:20:50.1
  24. Carol Bauer 4:28:46.9
  25. Sarah Roberts 4:32:10.8
  26. Peter Hayden 4:33:35.5
  27. Mark Ochsner 4:34:04.2
  28. Finbarr Hedderman 4:38:01.0
  29. Jane Mason 4:39:52.1
  30. Dana Price 4:40:43.4
  31. Jessica Wood 4:43:45.7
  32. Sidney Russell 4:46:46.2
  33. Brian Lanahan 4:50:40.7
  34. Elaine Howley 4:57:14.8
  35. Erin Churchill 5:02:25.7
  36. Sarah Taft 5:09:13.6
  37. Robin Hipolito 5:18:44.8
  38. Michelle Squyer 5:50:01.2
  39. Michael Reilly 5:58:47.0

Photos from Day 1 of the 4-day, 4-stage point-to-point swim in Saguaro Lake, Canyon Lake, Apache Lake, and Roosevelt Lake.

Tomorrow, there will be three heats of swimmers swimming across Canyon Lake.

Canyon Lake – Heat One Swimmers on April 28th:

  1. Barry O’Connor (58 from Dublin, Ireland): ice swimmer, winter swimmer, North Channel relay swimmer
  2. Brad Lundblad (53 from Arizona): SCAR veteran, channel swimmer
  3. Cathy Harrington (56 from California): pioneer swimmer, SCAR veteran
  4. Courtney Paulk (52 from Virginia): Double Triple Crowner, channel swimmer, SCAR veteran
  5. Elaine Howley (44 from Massachusetts): Triple Crowner, pioneer swimmer, ice swimmer, channel swimmer, writer
  6. Erin Churchill (41 from New Mexico): Ice Miler, ice swimming administrator, winter swimmer, SCAR veteran
  7. Finbarr Hedderman (36 from Cork, Ireland): Ice Miler, channel swimmer, SCAR veteran
  8. Gina Harden (62 from Florida): SCAR veteran
  9. Jane Mason (54 from Colorado): marathon swimmer
  10. Jessica Wood (36 from New Mexico): marathon swimmer
  11. Lauren Hasselquist (54 from Virginia): masters swimmer, marathon swimmer
  12. Lura Wilhelm (40 from California): swimming artist
  13. Mark Ochsner (53 from Indiana): marathon swimmer, triathlete
  14. Marnie Whitley (53 from Arizona): SCAR veteran [shown above]
  15. Martha Wood (59 from Massachusetts): Ice Miler, marathon swimmer
  16. Michelle Squyer (54 from California): escort kayaker, channel swimmer, SCAR veteran
  17. Mike Healey (69 from Oregon): race director, Ironman triathlete, open water swimmer
  18. Neil Hailstone (50 from Colorado): channel swimmer, marathon swimmer
  19. Peter Hayden (64 from California): channel swimmer, SCAR veteran
  20. Robin Hipolito (32 from California): observer, escort kayaker, marathon swimmer
  21. Sarah Roberts (38 from California): Monterey Bay swimmer
  22. Sarah Taft (51 from New York)
  23. Tricia Elmer (61 from Washington): channel swimmer

Canyon Lake – Heat Two Swimmers on April 28th:

  1. Andrew Wallace (56 from New Jersey): marathon swimmer, channel swimmer, winter swimmer
  2. Brian Lanahan (46 from South Carolina): marathon swimmer, circumnavigation swimmer, triathlete
  3. Carol Bauer (61 from Virginia): competitive swimmer
  4. Dana Price (50 from Arizona): channel swimmer
  5. Eric Durban (66 from Washington): channel swimmer
  6. Jordan Iverson (29 from Alaska): masters swimmer
  7. Jessica Wood (29 from Texas): marathon swimmer
  8. Lars Durban (64 from Washington): channel swimmer
  9. Lauren Byron (46 from New Jersey): marathon swimmer
  10. Mark Spratt (66 from Indiana): marathon swimmer, channel swimmer, SCAR veteran
  11. Michael Reilly (40 from California): swimmer
  12. Sidney Russell (34 from California): channel swimmer
  13. Steve Sutton (56 from California): channel swimmer, SCAR veteran
  14. Steven Munatones (59 from California): blogger
  15. Troy Dega (39 from Wisconsin): coach and trainer
  16. Van Cornwell (51 from California): Channel swimmer, stage swimmer
  17. Wendy van de Sompele (56 from Washington): Pioneer swimmer, SCAR veteran

Canyon Lake – Heat Three Swimmers on April 28th:

  1. Bill Shipp (62 from Maryland): Triple Crowner, marathon swimmer, pioneer swimmer
  2. Blaik Ogle (42 from Tennessee): event director, open water swimming pod organizer, SCAR veteran
  3. James Savage (15 from California): Lake Tahoe Triple Crowner, marathon swimmer, Honorary ESPY Award recipient
  4. Jorge Cortina (63 from Virginia): masters swimmer
  5. Leslie Hamilton (29 from New York): marathon swimmer, circumnavigation swimmer
  6. Martyn Webster (56 from Switzerland): Triple Crowner
  7. Michael Rice (37 from Colorado): defending SCAR champion, SCAR male record holder, collegiate swimmer
  8. Molly Nance (56 from Nebraska): Marathon swimmer, channel swimmer, SCAR veteran
  9. Stefan Reinke (63 from Hawaii): channel swimmer, SCAR veteran
  10. Sydelle Harrison (27 from California): South End Rowing Club member
  11. Tracy Knight (49 from from Indiana): marathon swimmer
  12. William Dichtel (43 from Illinois): USMS All American swimmer

For more information on the event between April 26th – 29th, visit

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Steven Munatones