By James Knight
LAKE TAHOE, Calif., September 30. LAURA Colette, 39, a member of the South End Rowing Club in San Francisco, completed a solo swim of Lake Tahoe — the long way — in the time of 12 hours 36 minutes 52 seconds on September 20.
Her previous swims within the past month include the Maui Channel Swim solo, where she was pulled and repositioned because a tiger shark tried to accompany her on her crossing. Her next interesting swim was the Waikiki Rough Water Swim which didn't go as planned. You may have seen her picture in the reports: she was the one comforting the Japanese swimmers.
Saturday September 20, 2003 began with Laura competing in the Pacific Masters 1 mile and 2 mile swims at Folsom lake near Sacramento California. Laura swam to a third and fourth in her age division (women 35-39) for the two races.
Driving up to Lake Tahoe after the races, she boarded the 28 ft. sailboat, Aegis, at around 9pm that evening to be transported to the start of the swim at Camp Richardson at the south end of the lake.
Laura entered the water at 10:58.21pm from the sandy beach next to the pier. The GPS indicated that the altitude was at 6358 ft. Due to the swim taking place late in the season, there was no other boat traffic on the lake during the night hours. Laura swam strongly through the night. The quarter crescent moon finally rose early in the morning providing greater visibility in the wonderfully clear water which at times reached a temperature as "high" as 60 degrees.
The swim progressed at a consistent pace until three miles from the finish when she discovered that there were fairly strong currents flowing directly from the beach. Battling through the successive currents she reached Kings Beach and dry land at 11:35.13pm.