Women’s Team Ready for Tahoe Relay Again

They’re Seeking Support for TERC, Watershed Sciences

Woman swims the crawl stroke in crystal-blue Lake Tahoe.
Verónica Morales, assistant professor, swims a leg in last year’s Trans Tahoe Relay — and she’ll be out there again this Saturday (July 21) with the UC Davis team. (Megan Michelson)

Six UC Davis faculty members and students will immerse themselves in the cause of watershed protection and water research this Saturday (July 21) when they go for a swim in chilly Lake Tahoe. Not just any swim, but the 10-mile, no-wetsuits-allowed Trans Tahoe Relay, in which they are participating as the Women for Water Science team.

Last year, three faculty members joined with three other women as the Women for Water Research team, raising funds for the university’s Tahoe Environmental Research Center, or TERC. They completed the relay in 5 hours, 17 minutes.

This year’s team is all-UC Davis, including two faculty members returning from last year: Heather Bischel and Verónica Morales, each of them an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

They’ll be swimming with Roberta Millstein, professor, Department of Philosophy; Kelly Neal, an undergraduate, majoring in wildlife, fish and conservation biology; Kate Tiedeman, doctoral candidate in ecology; and team captain Ann Willis, a graduate student in civil engineering and a staff researcher at the Center for Watershed Sciences.

They’re asking people to support their effort by donating to the Tahoe Environmental Research Center and-or the Center for Watershed Sciences (click on the links to reach UC Davis Giving webpages). The Trans Tahoe Relay also serves as a fundraiser for another great water cause: Keep Tahoe Blue.

Jumping right in

Tahoe research vessel Bob Edwards on water
The TERC research vessel Bob Richards will be the UC Davis team’s support boat, with Geoff Schladow, professor and TERC director, captaining the boat.

“I had heard about last year’s team from Heather and Veronica,” said Willis, who, like Millstein and Neal, swims with the Davis Aquatic Masters. “I thought it would be great to do the relay again, in support of our passions. So, I reached out to Heather and Veronica to see if they wanted to form another team and they jumped right in.”

Saturday, relay participants will jump into a lake where they can expect water temperatures of 60 to 62 degrees at the start of the relay, at Sand Harbor Beach on the Nevada side of Tahoe, dipping to 55 to 58 degrees in the deepest water in the middle of the lake, as they make their way to Skylandia Beach between Tahoe City and Dollar Point on the California side of the lake.

The first swimmer in the water goes for 30 minutes, and teammates follow with their own 30-minute first legs. After that, it’s 10-minute legs, in the same order, until the finish.

The relay begins at 7:15 a.m. You can follow the UC Davis team’s progress on social media by searching for posts with a pair of hashtags: #UCDavis and #TransTahoeRelay.

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Dave Jones, 530-752-6556, dljones@ucdavis.edu

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