TAHOE, CA. – Anna Newman of the Pomona-Pitzer Women's Swim & Dive program concluded an eventful summer with a historical accomplishment, recording the fastest time in the True Width of Lake Tahoe (12 miles). With an official crew and observer on a boat following her for the entire journey, Newman started her swim at dawn, getting in the water at 4:41 a.m. and finished around 9:29 a.m. Her final time was 4:48.13, the fastest recorded official time ever among all genders and ages.
"What an exciting accomplishment this was for Anna!" exclaimed Head Coach Jean Paul Gowdy. "All of us here at Pomona-Pitzer Swim & Dive are proud of her motivation and tenacity to complete such a monumental athletic event. It is so inspiring to see the example Anna set of a student using their summer to both help a good cause while also learning and growing as an athlete."
The water temperature at Lake Tahoe started at 63.7 degrees Fahrenheit and warmed to 67 towards the end. Newman had to battle against the choppy waters, with swells reaching up to 3-feet. The sophomore swam in compliance with marathon swimming rules, which meant no floating aid, one standard bathing suit, one cap, and one pair of goggles.
"I would say the hardest parts were getting myself to jump into the freezing water, the pitch black (I started before 5 a.m. and I had never actually swum in water under 65 degrees) and navigating the swells for the last three miles," said Newman after the race. "I started getting cold again and the boat kept going ahead of me which I think made me feel a little discouraged. However, the middle part of my swim felt really strong, partially because I was swimming in the same direction as the lake currents."
The Sagehen participated in this marathon challenge validated by the Lake Tahoe Open Water Swim Association in hopes of raising funds for the Global Village Project, a school for refugee girls with the mission to "develop a strong educational foundation for each student within a caring community using a strengths-based approach and intensive instruction in English language and literacy, academic subjects, and the art." The organization's vision is to "ensure that all refugee girls with interrupted schooling have access to the education necessary to pursue their dreams."
This race was the last of her 15 swims for the summer in her attempt to help the Global Village Project. She amassed more than 90 kilometers total.