Photos and videos emerging from Lake Champlain in New York [see here] show periods of glassy, tranquil waters intermixed with slightly more turbulent conditions on Day 1 for Sarah Thomas‘ unprecedented 104.6-mile (168.3 km) course on an island loop route.
While the conditions appear between acceptable to ideal for the first solo current-neutral Century Swim in history, Thomas may encounter sea lamphreys, eel-shaped jawless parasitic fish with a skeleton made of cartilage.
The lamphreys feed using their small sharp teeth and a file-like tongue that attach to fish, puncture its skin, and drain its body of blood and fluids.
If a lamphrey or group of lamphreys attached (attacked?) themselves to Thomas, it would certainly be a surprise, but humans can easily wipe or pull the lamphrey off their skin.
The thought of something latching itself onto to a swimmer has got to be spooky, especially at night.
But Thomas has swum over 27 straight hours and 76.7 km (47.6 miles) on Day 1 since Monday morning and apparently without any significant problems – or running into the vampire fish of Lake Champlain.
Her support team of 13 protecting her includes observers Evan Morrison and Elaine Howley, husband Ryan Willis, mother Becky, sister Melody, cousin Alex, kayaker Scott Olson, photographer Ken Classen, pilot Phil White, navigators Andrew Malinak and Craig Lenning, and chief encouragement officer Cathy Delneo, and researcher and course coordinator Karl Kingery.
Additional articles on her swim include History’s First Current-Neutral 100-Mile Swim, Dramatic Data On Sarah Thomas’ Century Swim, Sarah Thomas’ Beamonesque Century Swim, and Supporting And Crewing On Sarah Thomas’ Century Swim.
Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association