Triple Crown at 2000 meters altitude

When I saw the post of a swimmer who swam 34 km solo in Lake Tahoe in 2020, I asked Furkan Hoca the following: "Can I swim 34 km in the lake? And we started researching solo crossings in Lake Tahoe. When we saw that three separate crossings were made and a triple crown could be achieved, we set our dream on achieving the triple crown. We immediately contacted the committee and reserved our spot for July 2021.

However, in April 2021, I contracted a severe case of COVID-19. With the tremendous support of my family, friends, and Coach Furkan Serbest, I managed to recover by June. But in July 2021, I didn't have the strength to complete these swims. We discussed it with the organizing committee and postponed our crossings to 2022. But my morale was shattered. I tried to regain myself by training in Datça. Around August, I received a phone call from my brother Turgut Esen, informing me that he would organize a race in Palamutbükü in November and make me the guest of honor. This news gave me a great boost of morale. With this motivation, I continued my training. I would like to express my sincere thanks to everyone who has been by my side and supported me during this difficult time.

FIRST CROSSING - 19.2 KM - JULY 15, 2022

A few days before the crossing, after a tiring journey, we arrived at Lake Tahoe. Until July 15th, our first goal was to acclimate to the fluctuating weather conditions, reaching 30°C during the day and dropping to 14°C at night, as well as the oxygen scarcity due to the altitude and getting used to the lake water.

Furkan Hoca and I saw these swimming stages as matches. If we didn't win the first match, the second and third matches would be insignificant. By coincidence, before the crossing night, Umut Salar and Cem Paşaoğlu, who happened to be nearby, came to visit me with their families. This was a huge source of motivation for me.

Transition day, around 2:30 in the night, Captain Sylivia and referee Kelly met me at the port. Seeing my nervousness, Sylivia and Kelly constantly reassured me. My nephew, Demir, was there to assist me from the boat during this transition. If I'm not mistaken, the weather was around 13-14 degrees Celsius, and the water was around 16 degrees Celsius. We arrived at the starting point of the boat crossing. I got off the boat and started swimming upon the given signal. After the first hour of swimming, Demir handed me the mixer for my nutrition. However, the carbohydrate food mixture that was supposed to be warm was cold. Our hot water was supposed to be in the thermos, but it didn't do its job properly. I thought to myself, "We're in trouble." Because the weather and water were cold, I needed a warm drink. Demir explained the situation to the captain, and during the second nutrition session, he took some hot water from their thermos and prepared the food. After resolving this issue, I continued swimming in good spirits. Our morale improved as the daylight emerged. The applause and cheers from Sylivia, Kelly, and Demir further motivated me. I think around the halfway point, my heart rate started to increase rapidly. I slowed down my pace and normalized my heart rate. In the following nutrition sessions, I started experiencing cramps in my legs when in a vertical position. Even when I tried to feed while floating on my back, the cramps persisted. Only when swimming freestyle, the cramps went away. So, I kept the nutrition breaks very short. Later, while swimming, I experienced cramps in my left arm for the first time in my life. Swimming like this, after 7 hours and 36 minutes, I finally set foot on land. As soon as I stepped on land, both of my legs cramped completely at the back. But with the happiness of success, I turned back to the boat with cramping legs. Thank goodness, we had won the first match. Now it was time for the match on July 21st.