Lake Tahoe is a large alpine lake on the border of California and Nevada at 6,200 feet (1,900m) elevation in the Sierra Nevada mountains. It is approximately 21 miles long (north/south) and 10-12 miles wide (east/west).
The earliest documented cross-Tahoe swim was completed by Myrtle Huddlestone in 1931 - 10.5 miles from Deadman Point, NV to Tahoe City, CA. Huddlestone was already a well-known marathon swimmer, as the first woman to cross the Catalina Channel (1927).
Fred Rogers was the first to swim the lengthwise axis of Tahoe in 1955 (20 miles from Kings Beach to Bijou), and Leonore Modell was the first woman in 1963 (20.5 miles from Tahoe Keys to Kings Beach). The canonical lengthwise route (21.3 miles, Camp Richardson, CA to/from Incline Village, NV) was established by Laura Colette in 2004.
Besides the length, two other popular standard routes include:
- the "Viking Swim," a 10.5-mile diagonal route between Cave Rock, NV and Vikingsholm in Emerald Bay, CA (established by Tom Linthicum);
- a 12-mile route across the east/west "width" of the lake, between Homewood, CA and Glenbrook, NV.
Records of the first 21 lengthwise swims were compiled by Dean Moser through 2011. Dave Van Mouwerik continued this effort, compiling records of an additional 35 swims through 2017.