Young swimmers take on Donner Lake |

Young swimmers take on Donner Lake

Provided to the SunTruckee Tahoe Swim Team member Brittany Percin, 11, swims across Donner Lake with her safety escort nearby this past weekend.

Athletes of all shapes, sizes and disciplines have been working overtime trying to squeeze in one more day of their favorite activity before the chill of fall truly sets in.

Local roads and trails are packed with bikers and hikers, while some climbing routes at Donner Summit hold waiting lines into the afternoon.

Early this past Saturday, a calm morning mist hung over Donner Lake before being slit by the sound of swimmers hitting the water for another trans-Donner swim. Several members of the Truckee Tahoe Swim Team (TTST), USA Masters and the Truckee Aquatics Collision (TAC) gathered on the west end of Donner Lake for the 2.7-mile swim to the east end at the Tahoe Donner Marina.

TTST coaches Sarah Clement and Betsy Hansen led the charge, breaking the mirror surface and the peaceful calm. TTST’s Kaylee Bingham, a 13-year-old from Graeagle and first-time trans-Donner swimmer, was apprehensive during the swim.

The glow of accomplishment warmed her to the core when she realized she had just finished something most adults and kids her age would never considered doing. Never one to complain, Kaylee was clearly determined to do her best, and she did just that.

Molly Ingalls, 14, also a first-time trans-Donner swimmer, couldn’t feel her face at the halfway point. Pushed by the chance to beat her longtime coach, Betsy Hansen, Molly’s RPMs increased during the last third of the 1-hour, 20-minute crossing.

Arriving on the sand at the Tahoe Donner Marina, she found it difficult to make the change back to a land-fairing human, as she was dizzy and needed a few moments to recover in the vertical position while being supported by the water.

Among the TTST swimmers taking up the morning challenge was second-time Donner Lake swimmer Brittany Percin, 11. Brittany’s smooth stroke and superior navigation aided her in landing on the beach ahead of her fellow TTST swimmers.

Drawing on experience, Brittany was later heard saying it was the smell of pancakes and beacon on the beach that had her pushing hard to the finish. Not wasting any time on food, Brittany ran to the docks to cheer on the other swimmers in the water.

While the kids were swimming, TTST head coach Debbie Meyer was the one in the kitchen responsible for the scent trail drawing all the swimmers to the finish line. Holding a natural gift for getting the most out of her swimmers, Debbie pulled yet another trick out of her hat.

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