About Lake Tahoe


Lake Tahoe is considered one the most difficult marathon swims in the world. The length of Lake Tahoe is 21.3 miles and it is known to have fast-changing and challenging conditions. The water is deep – more than 1,600 feet in spots – so it is cold. Summer water temperatures rarely exceed 70F, and fresh water always feels colder to the swimmer than salt water of the same temperature.

In addition, the air is thin. At more than 6,200 feet of elevation, Lake Tahoe has 20% less oxygen than exists at sea level. Swimmers experience certain psychological effects of swimming at altitude; maintaining one’s composure when laboring for breath for hours at a time is mentally exhausting. Straining to get oxygen causes physiological effects, too; muscle cramps and even vertigo are often the result. Perhaps it is no wonder why Lake Tahoe is on the “swims-to-be-avoided” list for many of even the most experienced marathon swimmers.

Hannah is a swimming purist, so she will follow what are known as “English Channel Rules” for her swim.

Rule #1 dictates what a swimmer can wear during the swim.

  • Anything that would make a swimmer buoyant, fast or, frankly, comfortable, is strictly forbidden – wetsuits NOT allowed.
  • Hence, Hannah will spend those hours freezing in only a Speedo-style swim suit, a swim cap and goggles.

Rule #2 has to do with the escort boat that will follow her through the swim.

  • When the English Channel rules say “unassisted,” they mean “unassisted.”
  • As a result, Hannah will be prohibited from touching the boat or anyone on it; she will feed every 30 minutes from a drinker bottle that her crew will toss to her, like a trained seal.

Rule #3 is that marathon swims must begin and end on dry land.

  • The swimmer must walk into the water, swim across, then walk out of the water.
  • By Hannah completing those easier-said-than-done steps, she will have had what constitutes “a good day” in marathon swimming.

Hannah’s swim will begin at the south end of Lake Tahoe, at Incline Village, Nevada. She expects to start around 8:00 p.m. on the evening of August 3rd, and swim through the black of night and into the daylight. By starting at night, swimmers can take advantage of lighter winds and smaller waves. Some 10 – 14 hours later, Hannah expects to finish at Camp Richardson in South Lake Tahoe, California.

A Long Swim is honored to be sponsoring Hannah Meyer as she takes the plunge.

A Long Swim sponsors swimmer Hannah Meyer

Hannah is swimming for her goddaughter, Olivia, who is battling a rare form of pediatric brain cancer.

A Long Swim-sponsored swimmer Hannah Meyer has a remarkable athletic background.

Source: noozhawk.com

As a native of Naperville, Illinois, Hannah started swimming as a six-year old age-grouper, and freestyled and breaststroked her way through high school swimming at Rosary High School and Division I college swimming at Seton Hall. She experienced some injuries that resulted in shoulder surgeries, and through rehabilitation, massive dedication and hard work, Hannah came back stronger than ever.

Since college, Hannah discovered her gift in inspiring and coaching age-group and high school swimmers and water polo players, and is now the Assistant Director of Aquatics at Latin School of Chicago. Never one to be left without a Big Goal, Hannah has taken on the new challenge of marathon swimming, into which she has jumped with both feet.

It is that dedication to hard work and overcoming long odds that drives Hannah’s inspiration for her swim of Lake Tahoe. A Long Swim is hosting Hannah’s swim because she has been a tireless supporter of our mission to bring awareness and funding to ALS research.


Now, Hannah has a second motivation.

Hannah’s goddaughter, Olivia, is battling glioblastoma multiforme grade 4, a rare form of pediatric brain cancer. Olivia, age 10, has had to withstand radiation treatments and is now enduring eight months of chemotherapy treatments. Despite the challenging process, Olivia has managed to battle fiercely, all while maintaining a bright outlook and good humor.

Always viewing the glass as half-full, Olivia’s family takes great comfort in the fact that their daughter is being treated by Dr. Stewart Goldman, who has dedicated his career to the research and treatment of pediatric brain tumors, and is now heads up that effort at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine here in Chicago. Northwestern and Lurie Children’s Hospital have a 136-year history of superior care for children.

It is for that research, then, that Hannah has offered to help fund with her Lake Tahoe swim.

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