A former Chautauqua County resident hopes to become the lucky 13th person to swim the 18-mile length of Chautauqua Lake Monday.
While Labor Day is a holiday for most people, Ann Marie D'Agostino, 30, of Boston, Mass., will be entering the water at the north end of the lake early in the morning.
"We will be leaving from Mayville at the railroad house at 2 a.m. and look to finish 8 1/2 to nine hours later," Ms. D'Agostino said.
The reason for the early start, she explained, is to avoid the heavy boat traffic expected on the lake that day.
"One of the concerns was that with Labor Day we'd have too many boats and, also, the gasoline that would be on the surface," she commented. "So (I'm) trying to avoid that as much as possible."
Ms. D'Agostino, who previously lived in Mayville and still summers at Chautauqua Institution, anticipates the lake temperature to be about 68 to 70 degrees. But, while the water temperature shouldn't be a problem, she does expect a couple of challenges.
"I think one of the biggest challenges is just going to be staying focused and just getting the job done, really," she said. "I also think the weeds are going to play an important role, just in terms of getting used to them, and making friends with them," she chuckled.
Ms. D'Agostino said swimmers tend to get scratched up going through lake weeds. She added she would try to combat that by spreading lanolin on her body. She also has a team of friends, many from Boston, who will be cheering her on from a boat.
Ms. D'Agostino's attempt to swim the lake comes on the heels of her win Aug. 14 in the Boston Lights Marathon.
"There were nine swimmers, and some really big, threatening weather, but we all decided to swim the (Boston Lights) anyway, and I ended up in first place, winning by 43 minutes, and it was a really big shock," she said. "But I think it was just my day."
Ms. D'Agostino is the first person to try swimming the length of the lake since a record five people did it on Sept. 6, 1996.
The same year, 14-year-old Carly Swenson become the youngest person to complete the swim.
At the same time, Patrice Smith, 34, became the oldest woman to swim the lake's length.