It is all about crossing the lake together, regardless who arrives first.
February is a special month in San Martín de los Andes
: it is not only the anniversary of the town, but also the summer season when most of the activities take place outdoors such as the Lake Lacar Crossing on the second Saturday.
Lake Lacar is part of the 7-Lake Road
and one of the wonders of the Patagonian Andes. You can sail, fish, swim in its cold, crystal-clear water or simply contemplate it.
Swimming across it is another matter. Yet, since 1985 local and visiting swimmers have taken part in this event. Weather permitting, at the sound of ‘go’ the crossing begins and hopefully, the Patagonian sun will shine on the event.
Mario Vegazzi, a lifeguard and PE instructor was the first to swim from Catritre beach to La Islita
, two popular sites, during Christmas in 1985. Two friends paddled their canoe beside him for safety. Although he had not trained, it was a complete success.
Mario continued swimming across the lake and three years later he was joined by two friends. In 1999 they began to receive enrollment requests from other swimmers. The crossing was the same, but started at La Islita.
At present, this non-competitive, non-profit event is part of the celebrations during the anniversary week of the town and is supported by the Municipality, National Parks and the Argentine Coast Guard.
Members of the local marina and kayakers collaborate to ensure the swimmers’ safety. The whole community not only supports but encourages the participants both at the starting and finishing lines.
The organization has to adapt every year due to the increase in the number of swimmers: men and women of different ages take part, nobody wants to be left out. Being part of the group and overcoming personal limitations is the prime aim, not arriving first.
There are already around 100 participants in this individual challenge. On arrival at Catritre beach and a rewarding round of applause by the crowd waiting there, swimmers are bound to feel tired, but also proud of having trained to complete the crossing. It is then time for the prizes, the medals and the toast.
The event has already celebrated its silver anniversary thanks to the unfailing enthusiasm and hard work of the organizing committee and the support of the whole community. The swimmers feel part of one of the main sporting events in San Martín de los Andes.
‘May your swimwear never get dry!’ is these keen swimmers wish to each other.