Enrichment Arts & Culture

14-year-old becomes youngest person to swim length of Lake Tahoe

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Story at a glance

  • A California teenager became the youngest person to swim across the 21.3 mile length of Lake Tahoe.
  • The recent swim was the third leg of the Lake Tahoe Triple crown.
  • “I had no doubts whatsoever,” Jillian Savage told the Tahoe Daily Tribune of her son. “He’s been swimming almost every day, six, seven days a week since he was 8.

A California teenager became the youngest person to swim across the 21.3 mile length of Lake Tahoe, completing the Triple Crown. 

Fourteen-year-old James Savage finished the length in 12 hours earlier in August, according to the Tahoe Daily Tribune. Savages previously completed the separate pair of two-mile or longer legs. The teens swim began at South Lake Tahoe and ended in Incline Village, Nev. 

James became the youngest to complete the 12-mile true width swim, also known as the “Godfather” swim, from the Godfather Mansion in Homewood to Cave Rock, which is part 2 of the Triple Crown.

“I had no doubts whatsoever,” Jillian Savage, James’s mother, told the Tahoe Daily Tribune. “He’s been swimming almost every day, six, seven days a week since he was 8. With open water, it’s just what he does. But mentally, even though it takes a whole bunch of us to make the swim possible, he’s really out there by himself.”


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The 14-year-old swimmer explained to the outlet that he developed his early love for the sport after initial hesitation, adding he was drawn to open water swims rather than those in closed pools. 

“At first, I didn’t really want to swim,” Savage said. “I was on a swim team and my brother was doing it too, and we were there and my mom told me, ‘Why don’t you just hop in?’ and then I did, and I seemed to like it and it just kept going until I found open water and did it even more.”

Savage’s mother Jillian Savage told the outlet she is unsure what the future holds for her record-setting son but she believes he’ll do great things if the past is any indication: which started with plans as a young boy to swim from Alcatraz. 

“We let him do it kind of hoping and thinking it would be a one and done, and he got out and he said, ‘I want to do this again,’” she said. “’When’s the next one?’ And it just kept going and going and going and his feats kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and I’m kind of afraid to see what he wants to do next. But whatever it is, we’ll make it happen.”


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