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Ottersberg, Kelly Win Tahoe Polar Bear Swim -- March 1, 2004

LAKE TAHOE, Calif., February 29. THE competition to be the toughest polar bear swimmers at Lake Tahoe was won by a couple of San Franciscans, the Associated Press reported today. Competitors had to walk through a foot of snow to reach the starting line.

John Ottersberg, 41, and Candace Kelly, 33 -- both members of the San Francisco Dolphin Club, where water temperatures dip into the low 50 -- won the 14th annual Polar Bear Swim on Saturday at Lake Tahoe. Water temperatures during the race were in the low 40s.

For Ottersberg, a high school teacher who is training to swim the English Channel next summer, the win was his second: "This is a big deal because this will make the English Channel seem warm," he said.

Kelly, an attorney, improved on her third-place finish a year ago. "It (he swim) is kind of crazy ... (but) short and doable," she said.

The race is only 250 yards: 125 yards out into the lake and 125 yards back.
"The event on Tahoe's north shore attracted 15 male and six female competitors, along with hundreds of spectators," the AP reported.