Elaine Howley To Forge New Opportunities In IdahoCourtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.
Tomorrow, one of the world’s most prolific swimming writers and marathon swimmers, Elaine Howley, will attempt an unprecedented 34-mile swim the length of Lake Pend Oreille in northern Idaho.
Howley was invited to take on this challenge by Eric Ridgway, the founder of the Long Bridge Swim in Idaho. Ridgway, a stalwart organizing the event for 19 years is shifting his focus to Howley in her marathon swim attempt.
Timed to fall a few days prior to this year’s Long Bridge Swim event, her crossing will help promote the Long Bridge Swim and draw attention to the aquatic recreational opportunities in the greater Sandpoint area.
“We have such an incredibly beautiful lake here that I am sure that we are going to have many more open water swimmers coming in the years ahead to take on the challenges of this fresh water playground,” says Ridgway. “I have been involved with three prior ‘Big Lake Swims’ in Lake Pend Oreille, but all of those were as part of a relay team. I knew that someone would eventually come along to do it as a solo swim, and after talking with Elaine several years ago, I thought that she would be the ideal swimmer to accomplish this feat first. She is not only an amazing athlete, but she does so much to inspire and support others in the swimming world. She is going to open up a whole new venue for big open water swims in the Pacific Northwest.”
Howley will begin at Buttonhook Bay, the southernmost point in the lake, and swim northward to the finish at Sandpoint City Beach Park. Howley expects to cover the 54.7 km in 17 to 20 hours if weather conditions are fair. If conditions prove rough or windy, the swim could take more than 24 hours. Distance, cold and rough conditions are what Howley thrives on. She has completed crossings of the English Channel, Catalina Channel, Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, and numerous other distance swims including a 24-hour, 38-mile training swim in Lake Cochituate in Wayland, Massachusetts and an Ice Mile.
“After that most recent great experience, I’m feeling really confident about this upcoming big swim,” Howley says. “It’s a total privilege to be invited to do this swim, and I’m very grateful for the community support I’ve already had in planning the logistics.”
Howley, like many of her experience, has recruited an experienced crew: husband Mark Howley, sports nutritionist Sunny Blende, kayaker Randy Hixon, and observer Andrew Malinak. Representatives from her sponsors, women’s clothing company Athleta and sports nutrition product company UCAN, will also be following a broadcast of her swim via the Long Bridge Swim Facebook page.
“From what I’ve been told, it’s one of the most beautiful places on the planet to swim. So, sign me up! I’m excited to be embarking on this amazing journey.”
Expect success tomorrow and the day after tomorrow from one of the world’s most accomplished marathon swimmers.
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