Port Angeles swimmers to attempt 8.9-mile length of Lake Crescent on Sunday
In this snapshot provided by Howie Ruddell, Todd Clayton, Carol Clayton, Shawn Delplain, Kathy Beirne and Howie Ruddell pose after a recent training swim. Todd Clayton, Delplain, Beirne and Ruddell plan to swim lengthwise across Lake Crescent on Sunday. (Click on icon below to see a route map of their intended swim.)
Map by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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Kathy Beirne, Shawn Delplain, Howie Ruddell and Todd Clayton will plunge into the east end of the iconic lake from East Beach just before sunrise at 6 a.m.
They expect to arrive at Fairholme at the west end of the lake at about noon.
“It's just one of those bucket list things I think we all kind of had, and we said, 'Let's do it,'” said Ruddell, owner of Ruddell Auto Mall in Port Angeles.
“We've been planning on doing this swim for a real long time.”
Another motivator for the 8.9-mile adventure, Ruddell said, is to “bring a little extra attention and a little extra focus” to the Captain Joseph House Foundation, a nonprofit established by Betsy Reed Schultz.
Schultz is converting her former bed-and-breakfast at 1108 S. Oak St. in Port Angeles into a place of comfort and healing for families of service members killed in action.
The Captain Joseph House was named in honor of Schultz's son, Army Capt. Joseph Schultz, a Green Beret who was killed in action in Afghanistan on May 29, 2011.
“This is a great way to combine our passion for swimming while supporting a great new local nonprofit,” said Ruddell, who lives near the Captain Joseph House.
“We are very thankful for and respectful of our servicemen and -women and their families. ”
“We are especially mindful of the surviving families of those soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” Ruddell said.
The swimmers are accepting pledges of support for the Captain Joseph House Foundation.
Donations can be made at www.captainjosephhousefoundation.org.
Beirne, 44, Delplain, 43, Ruddell, 41, and Clayton, 50, have logged more than 200 miles swimming together and with others — including Todd's wife, Carol Clayton — six days a week since May.
They have alternated between open-water lake swims and pool swims in the months leading up to Sunday's charge down Olympic National Park's signature lake.
The group consists of triathletes, marathon runners, cyclists and rowers of varying experience.
“We have made the decision to complete the swim as a group and not as a race,” said Ironman triathlete Todd Clayton, the group's most experienced swimmer and co-owner of Athletes Choice in Port Angeles.
Although water temperatures in Lake Crescent have warmed considerably — from the low 50s to the mid-60s — since spring, the foursome will wear wetsuits for the six-hour swim for comfort and added buoyancy.
They also will wear brightly colored swim caps for added visibility.
Kayakers will follow the swimmers for safety and the provision of energy gels and fluids.
“This is a nice challenge for us,” said Delplain, an eight-year open-water swimmer and triathlete who planned the logistics for Sunday's swim, “and we are hopeful that this can bring some extra attention and benefit to the Captain Joseph House Foundation.”
The group's longest swim so far this season was a 6.2-mile, or 10-kilometer, crossing from Fairholme to Lake Crescent Lodge on July 14.
They also swam the 4.3-mile circumference of Lake Sutherland on three occasions in May and June.
The alternating “easy days” consist of at least 1.2 miles of swimming in William Shore Memorial Pool in Port Angeles or the Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center with local masters swim clubs.
On Sunday, the swimmers will stay near the south shore of the lake from East Beach to Sledgehammer Point, where they will cut across the “crescent” and follow the north shore into Fairholme.
The anticipated challenges include shoulder fatigue and unpredictable weather, Ruddell said.
Ruddell, a relative newcomer to open-water swimming, said part of the attraction of the sport is the parity among the age groups. He noted that some of the best swimmers are in their 50s.
“Our kids are now getting into swimming,” Ruddell added.
“As a family, we can all do this together.
“The other part of it is Lake Crescent is the most beautiful lake in the world, I think.”
Ruddell, who played basketball and soccer for the Port Angeles Roughriders, completed his first triathlon in 2008 and joined the swim club in March 2012.
“Todd and Shawn and Kathy and Carol are all really strong swimmers and very, very competent,” Ruddell said.
“It's really been a privilege to get to train with them every day.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: August 15. 2013 5:57PM