Late last summer the Carr Fire burned completely around Whiskeytown Reservoir near Redding, California. The 2018 Whiskeytown open water meet was cancelled.
The Whiskeytown races will be held again this year, according to the coach of the Redding Swim Team. I would like to propose that Oregon Masters swimmers make a decided effort to go to Redding and Whiskeytown in support of the area and the team who suffered serious losses in lives and homes due to the Carr Fire.
The meet will be held Sunday, Sept. 8. More information will be available eventually at https://www.pacificmasters.org/content/open-water-swims.
There is an extra incentive for Oregon open water swimmers to continue their season in 2019 into September. The Lake of the Woods open water events will be held the day before Whiskeytown, Sat, Sept. 7.
Three years ago, Mike Carew and I swam two open water events at Lake of the Woods on Saturday, then drove down to Redding that afternoon, and went one mile and two mile swims at Whiskeytown on Sunday.
The Whiskeytown course is also different to navigate. On the two mile you go behind two islands before coming back to the finish line. It’s impossible to get lost.
I know that promoting open water swims eight months before they’re swum seems early, but I have a personal reason for doing so. During the summer of 1967 I lifeguarded at Brandy Creek Beach, the starting point for the Whiskeytown races. It was a great place to guard: clear water, a diving float about 50 yards out, and Kokanee salmon coming up Brandy Creek to spawn.
Now the entire area has been devastated by fire. I want to see what happened last year, and I want to support the Redding area and Redding Swim Club, who put on the Whiskeytown open water event, in their efforts to re-establish the event.
Put both Lake of the Woods and Whiskeytown on your schedule for 2019. I hope to see you there.