Lafayette swimmer to attempt 240 miles in one go

When you spend 60 hours straight in the water, pruned skin is just the beginning of it.

Your tongue swells, your body bloats, your core temperature is likely to be off-whack. And, of course, you’ll be exhausted.

But these symptoms have not deterred ultraswimmer Jamie Patrick from his quest to do something no one else has ever done: swim 240 miles in 60 hours straight. The trip is scheduled for August, but Patrick has already begun planning every detail.

The swim will begin at the headwaters of the Sacramento River, just below Mount Shasta, and will end at the Sacramento River Delta 2½ days later. Patrick, a Lafayette resident who owns San Francisco-based Patrick & Co. office supplies, will be abiding by the English Channel swimming rules, which means he cannot touch a boat, wear a wetsuit or have any forward assistance by anything but the current of the river. The river in mid-August will not be moving quickly: Patrick estimates that if he floated down the river, the trip would take about six days.

The upcoming trip won’t be Patrick’s first record-breaking swim. In August, he became the first person to swim the length of Lake Tahoe twice without stopping, a swim that took 25 hours and covered 44 miles.

The last swim ended in both celebration and crisis: He had not consumed enough protein, and his body began consuming the protein of its muscles. That process caused liver damage, and Patrick spent three days in the hospital.

To avoid these problems, Patrick will be traveling with a crew of about 15 people, including a nutritional doctor. He plans to eat small portions of food every 20 minutes.

But even more than the food, Patrick says he worries about the sleep deprivation.

The swim will benefit a literacy project in the East Bay.

kworth@sfexaminer.com

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