Viking Course, 17.1 km

On July 21, 2022, the second solo crossing of the Viking Course, 17.1 km:

The first 19 km of swimming had exhausted me. It felt like I had swum 34 km in the English Channel. The cramping and high heart rate I experienced during this crossing were mainly due to the lack of oxygen at 2000 m altitude. In fact, my watch, which showed my oxygen levels as 95-96 in Turkey, was indicating 90-91 in Lake Tahoe. Therefore, Furkan Hoca and I decided not to rely on these smartwatches anymore, especially considering Furkan Hoca's slight annoyance during our phone conversations. To address the cramping issue, we decided to start taking magnesium supplements for the first time in my life.

Crossing Day:

Finally, the second match day had arrived. If we couldn't win this match, the third match would be of no significance.

On the night of July 21, around midnight, I met Captain Bryan and referee Katie at the harbor. This time, my nephew Ekin would be with Demir in the support team on the boat. Captain Bryan started briefing us before boarding the boat. Safety was the most important aspect for Bryan, and he mentioned that towards the end of the swim, many crazy American boats would approach us as we entered the bay. He said they would wave an orange flag to warn these boats and emphasized that I should be extremely careful when I see that flag. I thought to myself, "It's easy for me since I'll be swimming all the way to there on the surface." 🙂

We arrived at a rocky point where the crossing would begin. After jumping into the water and reaching the shore according to the given signal, I started swimming. The weather and water seemed a bit hotter than July 15.

Everything was going well, my nutrition was good, no cramps, no significant increase in heart rate. I thought to myself that my body was starting to adapt to the altitude and the lake. The day was tough, but I was slowly getting closer to the goal. However, I started to feel the fatigue from the first 19 km of swimming. Finally, I saw Emerald Cove, where the finish would take place, in the distance. Boats were coming in and out of the cove. As I entered the cove, the waves started. Despite the orange flags waving on my boat, the boats were still coming towards us.

At this point, I remembered what Bryan had said before the crossing and how right he was.

At one point, while I was swimming, Bryan tried to ensure my safety by circling his boat around me. In the midst of all this chaos and waves, I was making an effort to reach the shore.

We had entered the cove, but the shore was still far away. It surprised me that it was difficult here to reach the shore after entering the cove, whereas in ocean swims, it usually takes a short time. While still struggling with the oncoming boats and waves, I suddenly found myself swimming between two boats. Captain Sylvia, who had previously swum with another swimmer, had waited for me and come alongside me in her boat to ensure my safety. The place where I would finally set foot on land and finish became visible. Finally, after 8 hours and 5 minutes, with applause and cheers from the boat, I stepped on land and raised the flag of our Founder, Atatürk.

I had accomplished it despite being very tired, but there was still the most challenging third match ahead of us on July 29. I needed to recover as soon as possible.