Twenty-two brave souls have swum the 22 miles across Lake Tahoe. Only one has done it round trip.
Earlier this month, Jamie Patrick and Greg Larson, a San Francisco dentist, swam from Hyatt Beach at Incline Village on the north shore to Camp Richardson on the south shore.
At the conclusion of the 11-hour swim, Patrick spent a minute on the beach with his friend before plunging back in the lake for the solo return lap.
At approximately 6 p.m. the next day, after enduring more than 25 hours in the 60 degree waters of Lake Tahoe, Patrick shakily, but proudly emerged from the lake as the first swimmer to complete the 44-mile “Tahoe Double.”
The ultra aquatic athlete’s previous longest swim had been 17½ miles last May at Clear Lake.
With a crew of eight, including his dad in one boat, six others in a pontoon boat and one in a kayak, Patrick overcame severe stomach problems that resulted in dehydration and malnourishment.
“The ultimate goal was finishing,” Patrick said. “I’ve never been the fastest or the best, but I put myself in the position to go, go, go.”
Patrick skipped the post-swim party at Jake’s at the Lake with the 100-plus celebrants who met him at the beach, opting instead to check in to the hospital. There he set another record.
“The end result was 18 bags of IV, more than any amount the doctor had ever given anybody,” said Patrick, who was “90 percent recovered” three days after his two-night hospital stay.
The 39-year-old fourth generation descendant of Patrick & Co., a San Francisco office supplies-furniture institution, was an All-American swimmer at Orinda’s Miramonte High School. After swimming collegiately at Long Beach State and Hawaii, Patrick competed in 15 Iron Man triathlons. In 2005, he completed a Triple Iron Man — 7.8-mile swim, 336-mile bike ride and a 78-mile run — in 39 hours.
Patrick decided that training for three athletic disciplines was not conducive to family life, and he happily returned to his roots. His long-distance swimming career was launched as well as a higher commitment to promoting awareness for the importance of clean water.
Working with a professional filmmaker, Patrick is currently working on a documentary.
“We are trying to create people’s own environmental stewardship,” he said. “If we can stimulate people through recreation and accomplishment, they’re more likely to take care of the environment.”
Jamie Patrick file
What: Ultra-aquatic athlete, Patrick & Co. general manager, documentary film co-producer, husband and father
Vital stats: 6-foot-1, 190 pounds
The tahoe triple: Stanford Medical Center doctors will join the crew for Patrick’s 66-mile swim across Tahoe in 2011