Women's Relay Team Conquers Inhospitable Mono Lake

July 29, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Sports News
The Mermaids followed their recent success at Lake Tahoe with subsequent swims across June Lake and Mono Lake.

Their Mono Lake swim of 4 miles, two laps from Navy Beach to the South Tufa and back, is believed to be the longest recorded swim in recent history, largely because there are more hospitable bodies of water in which to immerse oneself. The highly alkaline chemistry of the lake (a pH of approximately 9.8) is roughly equivalent to household glass cleaner, the water is two to three times saltier than the ocean, and there are many submerged obstacles. Fish are unable to survive in Mono Lake.

Team members later opined, “Like Goldilocks, we kept trying for a good fit. Tahoe was big & windy, Mono was painful, but June was just right.” The team included Claudia Rose (Pacific Beach, California), Dorothy Thomas (Redlands, California), and Dorothy’s daughter, Jenny. Dorothy and Claudia are established long-distance swimmers, each with numerous competitive swimming successes; Dorothy is currently training for a solo swim across the Catalina Channel, and Jenny competed in her first ocean race, as the youngest swimmer in the 2.5K La Jolla Cove Swim Club CYA swim held on June 23. The team was escorted during the Lake Tahoe, Mono Lake and June Lake swims by kayaker Don Rasky.

On July 21, Claudia Rose completed her Trans-Tahoe solo swim of 11.5 miles in 7 hours 32 minutes. Together, Claudia and Dorothy tackled Mono Lake on July 22. According to team co-captain Claudia Rose, “Mono Lake was absolutely gorgeous, and wonderfully buoyant. We were very sad to leave. There was tingling, then a bubbly feeling like peroxide, and then stinging. If we didn’t have to put our faces in the water, we would have been fine to swim farther.” By the time they departed the lake, both Claudia and Dorothy were raw and bleeding. Dorothy recalls, “It was just too painful to go on.” Freshly exfoliated after their Mono Lake dip, the swim team members moved on to June Lake on the same day, where Claudia, Dorothy and Jenny swam 1.2-mile laps across the lake, ultimately achieving a 12-mile relay.

The Mermaids swim team is a squad of eleven female swimmers from across Southern California who excel at long-distance and cold water swimming. Their intent is to find interesting stretches of water to cross, some of which have never before been swum. The team members are amazing women between the ages of 23 and 55, who come from many different backgrounds and serve in many different roles: professionals, mothers, students, caregivers, volunteers, and more. Their example inspires others to seek challenges, set goals, grow personally & professionally, and be active.

Other events scheduled for the Mermaids this summer include a relay around Anacapa Island (24 miles) in August and a Los Angeles coastal relay in September. The team trains daily, year-round, in La Jolla, California. The Mermaids thank corporate sponsors Innova Kayak, Tyr Sport Inc., KINeSYS Performance Sunscreen, Powerbar Pria (Nestle USA), and Sephora USA Inc., for their generous support during this swim season.