Karen Zemlin - Mille Lacs Lake

Isle to Garrison

32.2 km (20.0 miles)

9 hours, 55 minutes on 8 June 2019

Observed and documented by Daree Selby

First documented crossing of Mille Lacs Lake



  • Name: Karen Zemlin
  • Gender: female
  • Age on swim date: 51
  • Nationality: United States
  • Resides: Plymouth, Minnesota

Support Personnel

  • Joan Casey - feeding support
  • Randy Ness - feeding support
  • Josh Frederick - pilot, boat logistics
  • Don Selby - pilot, boat logistics
  • Barb Ballard - support crew
  • Kelly Lindblom - support crew
  • Amy Rittenhouse - support crew
  • Katie Melmer - support crew
  • Mary Hoover - support crew
  • Glenn Adams - boat logistics, shuttle driver
  • Tom Robinson - boat logistics
  • Daree Selby - observer

Escort Vessel: Adams/Hoover pontoon (Isle, MN)

Swim Parameters

  • Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.
  • Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
  • Equipment used: Textile swimsuit, goggles, earplugs, silicone cap.

Route Definition

Isle Lakeview Park (Isle, MN) to beach just north of Garrison Concourse Wayside Park (Garrison, MN)

  • Body of Water: Mille Lacs Lake
  • Route Type: one-way
  • Start Location: Isle Lakeview Park (Isle, MN) (46.139102, -93.474054)
  • Finish Location: Beach just north of Garrison Concourse Wayside Park (Garrison, MN) (46.294805, -93.823830)
  • Minimum Route Distance: 32.2 km (20.0 miles)

Swim Data

  • Start: 8 June 2019, 05:05 (America/Chicago, UTC-5).
  • Finish: 8 June 2019, 15:00
  • Elapsed: 9 hours, 55 minutes, 20 seconds.

Summary of Conditions

Feature Min Max
Water Temp (F) 61 65
Air Temp (F) 65 78
Wind (mph) 5 15

GPS Track

Trackpoint frequency: 30 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).

Speed Plot

Nutrition: mix of water, Carbo Pro, electrolytes every 30 minutes

Observer Log

Download PDF

Swimmer Q&A

What inspired you to do this swim?

I did this swim once before. In 2007, my dad and I swam this same course but later in the summer. I decided to do it again because I recently learned that MSF will certify documented swims of choice and I wanted to have the first documented swim of this lake in Minnesota. I chose to swim early in the summer to have colder water. With so many fabulous lakes in Minnesota I think it would be great to get more recognized as marathon swimming opportunities.

How did you plan for the swim?

The planning for this swim was fairly straight forward. Since I was aiming for a specific water temp range of 60-65 degrees, I chose to pinpoint 2 weekends that were likely to be within that range. I lined up accommodations, escort boat, observer and crew for each weekend. Then we watched the weather and water temp closely. We cancelled the first weekend. By the second weekend, all variables lined up and we were set!

How did the swim go, generally? Did you face any unanticipated challenges?

We were pleased with how it went. The wind was strong and slightly at a cross to our course, so our fabulous pilot worked hard to keep our course. Our planning paid off and the feedings and logistics went smoothly.


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