Four Ladies and a Lake (Relay) - Keuka Lake
South to North
30.5 km (19.0 miles)
8 hours, 54 minutes on 9 September 2022
Observed and documented by Mary Ellen Speicher
Team and Members
Team Name: Four Ladies and a Lake (Relay)
|Steven Weigl||boat captain|
Mary Ellen Speicher
unnamed (Tahoe T16)
- Category: Relay, nonstop, unassisted.
- Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
- Body of Water: Keuka Lake
- Route Type: one-way
- Route Description: Hammondsport to Penn Yan
- Minimum Route Distance: 30.5 km (19.0 miles) (map)
- Start: 9 September 2022, 06:48:00 (Eastern Daylight Time, America/New_York, UTC-4).
- Finish: 9 September 2022, 15:42:06
- Elapsed: 8 hours, 54 minutes, 6 seconds.
Summary of Conditions
|Water Temp (F)||64||64|
|Air Temp (F)||59||78|
Trackpoint frequency: 15 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).
by Keone Weigl
The idea for a Keuka Lake relay swim was born on my 59th birthday as I prepared myself for foot surgery. I thought to myself, I’m ok with getting surgery on my 59th birthday, because for my 60th, I’m going to do something amazing!
Swimming the length of all the Finger Lakes has always been a dream of mine. To celebrate my 60th, I thought that it would be more fun to share a lake swim with friends as a relay, rather than swimming it as a solo. The swimmers and observer that I asked are all women in their 60s, so this was an opportunity to celebrate our age, friendship, and love of open water. When I asked the group (2 swimmers and 1 observer) to join me for the swim they all said yes without question. We also had my husband on board as captain.
We confirmed our commitment several times during the year, but we really came together as a team in June. A house was rented, and, to our surprise, a boat was purchased!
Our swim window was set for September 6 – 9, 2022. The weather outlook for the week leading up to the swim looked like we were going to have our choice of days. Every day looked perfect. Then the rain came. The whole week turned to nasty weather. We kept pushing the swim back until our only option was to do the swim on Friday. Fortunately, the weather for Friday looked good and based on the wind projections we decided that they best course to swim would be from south to north, Hammondsport, NY to Penn Yan, NY. While waiting out the rain, Mary Ellen Speicher, Steve Weigl, and myself investigated the best places for a start and finish. We were all set. Thursday Kay Simonson and Pat King arrived at the camp, and we packed up our car and were ready to go!
We had planned on a 6 a.m. start, because of nerves, everyone was up by 3:30 a.m. Unfortunately, overnight fog had rolled in with zero visibility. We knew that we wouldn’t be able to start the swim, let alone drive to the marina to get to our boat! The only thing we could do was wait it out. Fortunately, the fog started lifting as the sun came up and we were able to get moving.
By this time EVERYONE was a nervous wreck. I forgot to mention, while everyone on the team is an accomplished swimmer, I was the only one who had ever completed a longer endurance swim. We pegged this as a fun day on the lake, doing what we love best, but who were we kidding, we were nervous!
Despite some fog, the start went off without a hitch. The water temperature was in the low 70s and felt beautiful in the cool morning air. At first, we were signaling the swimmer at 30 minutes and 55 minutes. This felt like a long time, so we decided to signal every 15 minutes and 5 minutes to go. Everyone on the boat cheered the swimmer at these intervals. It was a lot of fun!
The sun started peeking out just before noon and warmed us up. There wasn’t a lot of boat traffic for most of the day so swam right down the middle of the lake. As the day got warmer, boat traffic picked up. We had to stay vigilant watching each swimmer to make sure she didn’t stray too far from the boat. For the most part, the boat traffic wasn’t an issue.
The day passed a lot faster than any of us anticipated. We each were able to get three swims, so it worked out perfectly. Pat was swimming the last leg. When the beach was within 50 yards Kay and I jumped in so we could all finish together and celebrate.
4 Ladies and a Lake had a monumental time on Friday, September 9, 2022. We all worked together like a team from swimmers, to observer, and captain. It was an extraordinary group of people who are now looking forward to another challenge!
Click to enlarge.