Friday, August 20, 2010

Tiffany Carter's 22-Mile Swim for Africa

UPDATE: Tiffany swam 20.5 miles--18 of them without a wetsuit--before an upset stomach, crampy calves and sore lungs cut the swim short. She'll be finishing the last 1.5 miles on Tuesday, the 23rd. As of Friday, the 20th, she had raised $2750 for Kenyan children.

Yea, Tiffany! That's the width of the English Channel crossing at the Straight of Dover! (21 miles)
Tiffany (left) at the end of a 14-mile swim with sister, Michelle. 
There must be some endurance obsession in the Beresini genes.

As I write this, my cousin, Tiffany Carter, is swimming across Lake Tahoe to raise money for children in Kenya.

Her longest swim before taking on the width (or length...depending on how you look at it) of Lake Tahoe was 14 miles and took her seven hours. Averaging two miles-per-hour and accounting for fatigue, Tiffany expects the swim to take about 12 hours. That's an entire Ironman-worth of just swimming.

I cry for her shoulders.

And get this: she's not wearing a wetsuit.

"I'll have my wetsuit (a long john suit) on the boat," Tiff told me yesterday, "just to make my mom happy, but I don't want to wear it." (Tiff said she hasn't looked at the water temperature the entire time she's been training. But I did. On the North side, temps on Wednesday ranged between 64 and 76 degrees. On the South side, they're between 65 and 67. Holy wetsuitless coldness.)

Tiffany got the idea for the swim after her older sister, Sophia, visited Kenya and came back with stories about the kids there living in poverty, but didn't have to; the kids could go to school and eat for an entire year for only $50-100 per child.

Tiffany wanted to help. She knew only one other native Lake Tahoe woman had ever completed the swim, and decided she'd go for it. She's been swimming since middle school and wanted to take on the Lake.

It was hard for her to find people to train with, though, as most people who came along would poop out around two miles. Her friend, Howie, got cold and bailed about that far into a 10-mile training swim.  He found a nice family on shore who wrapped him up, gave him warm food, and drove him back to his car.

So Tiffany recruited her younger sister, Michelle, to kayak along with her on her training swims. But it hasn't been all sisterly love out on the lake.

"I thought, 'Oh yea, we're sisters, it's gonna be great! We're gonna giggle and laugh...' but we'll be in the middle of the lake and she'll get so crabby sometimes and threaten to leave me," Tiffany said.

So is it going to be different today? On the big day?

She'll have a large crew including both of her parents, her sister, and other kayakers to help out. The local radio station is keeping people up-to-date on Tiffany's whereabouts. You can listen to the live broadcast here.

Tiffany's most nervous about not making it. And of Tahoe Tessie, Lake Tahoe's version of the Loch Ness monster. She put glow sticks on the bottom of the kayaks for the dark start this morning and was worried they'd attract some kind of mythical Tiffany-eating fish.

She'll be slurping mashed-up sweet potatoes and noshing on Clif Bars to fuel the swim.

As of yesterday, Tiffany had raised $957 out of her goal of $2,000. Donate to her swim here--she'll be taking donations for at least another week. No amount is too small! (OK, try to make it at least a buck.)

Visit Tiffany's Swim for Africa site.
Listen to the Quick Time radio broadcast.

Go Tiffany!

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