On August 7th Haydeé Acebo will push off the beach of Lake Tahoe at Camp Richardson and swim north. The next morning, she will climb out of the lake at Incline Village, 21 miles away. Before moving to Reno, Haydeé was born and grew up in Ecuador. She will be the first Latina woman to make the solo swim. Hamptons Swim instructor, Leila Thomas, got a chance to talk to Haydeé about her upcoming swim and why she’s doing it.
Haydeé has been doing open water swims since 2014. She told us what she’s been doing to get ready for her Lake Tahoe swim. “I have been preparing since May, 2020 by slowly increasing my mileage. I started at 1 mile two-times a week, to 1 mile a day, then to 3, and then 4 miles a day. I am fortunate to have an endless pool at home, but I also swim at the public pool and at the lake. I have also traveled…outside the state and the country to practice in different open water settings.” In April, Haydeé will visit Mexico to train with swimmers there. When she’s not swimming, she’s “usually training on a stationary bike or doing weightlifting. “That is my ideal schedule.”
Distance swimmers like Haydeé usually start their record swims at night. The conditions are calmer and there are fewer boats to interfere with. Haydeé’s swim is scheduled to start at 9 PM. The water will be cold too—67 degrees—and for this record, Haydee will not be wearing an insulating wetsuit.
Because Lake Tahoe is 21 miles long, Haydeé has given each mile a cause. “I have 21 Reasons to swim across the length of Lake Tahoe. I want to give a voice and relief to everyone who is fighting for those 21 Reasons.” You can see them below. Her causes range from public health, like diabetes, autism, and epilepsy, to social justice issues like human trafficking, hunger, and women’s empowerment.
Haydeé told us about the challenges she faces, “As a woman, I am expected to take care of the kids, have dinner ready, [all] while still making time for my career. I work from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m.…to accommodate my East Coast and European partners. Then I train for two hours until the kids get home. I understand now that sometimes we limit ourselves with those motherhood expectations. Instead, we should express our needs and come up with a solution with our partners and families...[but] I am cognizant many women don’t have that choice. My work schedule is flexible, but I am very aware this is not the same scenario with all the moms around the world. I am also doing this feat for the girls who are looking for their place in this world and for the women who are fighting to be better each day.”
“I’ve always feared asking for help thinking that I should do everything and be like a wonder woman. All of that changed when I started training for the Tahoe swim and I told my husband I needed the next 12 months to prepare for this event. I am slowly letting go of that behavior and accept it’s okay to receive help with the kids or anything else, including promoting the Tahoe swim and asking others for help.”
For her 21 Reasons, Haydee asked her friends. “I launched a social media campaign asking people to send me what was important for them and that is how the reasons were chosen...I have seen the devastation related to these…I would like to ask the community to be involved in providing a positive outcome…”
To learn more about her swim and to hear how it goes in August, follow Haydeé on Instagram @haydeeadventurer. You can also read more about each of her 21 Reasons and support her on GoFundMe at https://www.gofundme.com/f/21-reasons. “Each reason is a special one.”