Memorial Day Mountain Swim

Lake Toxaway, NC

Lake Toxaway, NC

My Memorial Day weekend travel plans led me to the beautiful mountains of North Carolina for a family wedding, and I’m pretty sure the closest lap pool to where I am might be back in Greenville. But I was determined to get a good blog post out of my weekend excursion. While we were out to dinner at the Lake Toxaway Country Club, my grandmother took quite an interest in the cute, young maitre d’ who, through her incessant questioning, we found out was a college swimmer/swim coach and the current champion of the “Dam-to-Dam Swim.” What is the “Dam-to-Dam Swim” you might ask? It is Lake Toxaway’s very own open-water swim! Lake Toxaway is a man made lake between two dams with 2.4 miles of freezing mountain lake water in between. Well, as ambitious as I am, I wasn’t going to attempt the dam-to-dam thing, but Chris(our lovely maitre d’) told me of a great place I could go to swim.

Getting in the 61 degree water of Lake Toxaway with the storm on the way

Getting in the 61 degree water of Lake Toxaway with the storm on the way

So I know I’m not technically following the assignment, but my swim was pretty cool. I started at a tiny little dock at the Greystone Inn, and planned on swimming all the way across the lake to the boat house you can see in the picture above. I got about 3/4 of the way there when a very large boom of thunder erupted immediately followed by the loudest strike of lightning I’ve ever heard.

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My dad, who was back on the dock snapping photographic proof of my trek began screaming his head off for me to turn around. I’ve never swam so fast in my life than that trip back to the dock. By the time I got there my dad, clothes, and towel were completely drenched, I was completely terrified and out of breath, wasn’t sure if there were even going to be decent pictures after all the chaos, but I felt so accomplished.

Starting my swim across the lake

Starting my swim across the lake

I wasn’t in the main, “fun” part of the lake during my swim, but I did go over there during the day when it was sunny to see what the environment was like. It was very much like an outdoor pool. Lots of kids running around with pool toys and floaties and their parents asleep on the boat, cocktail in hand, not watching very closely at all. There was a diving board, water slide, and lots of paddle boards and kayaks, along with sailboats packed in like sardines in this tiny little corner of the lake. No one dared to go past the buoys where our lovely friend from the country club told me to go. There was a lifeguard on duty, a very tan teenager who look liked he probably bleached his hair and did lots of illegal drugs in the break room. I tried to ask him questions about the dam-to-dam swim and what the environment was usually like at the lake, and once he spit out his dip so he could respond, I realized half of his teeth were missing, so it’s safe to say I didn’t really get any good, reliable information from him.

Quickly sprinting back, trying not to get struck by lightning

Quickly sprinting back, trying not to get struck by lightning

I have to say, this was by far the best/most fun swim I’ve done so far. The feeling of swimming in fresh lake water was amazing, despite almost getting struck by lightning. After this swim, I am much more excited about the Lake Hartwell swim and getting the chance to experience open water swimming again.

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One Response to Memorial Day Mountain Swim

  1. somerfaust says:

    61 degrees!!! I don’t know about that. My best days are done in the great sunshine and at least 80’s. That’s great you got your assignment done in such an extreme setting compared to the Furman pool. I think I would have drown from suffering hypothermia before I ever got started.

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