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Coeur d'Alene Crossing raises funds, provides fun way across lake

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Kathy Gentili, of Spokane Valley, smiles as she finishes the inaugural 2.4 mile Coeur d'Alene Crossing, and climbs to the shore of the Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course.

COEUR d'ALENE - All 13-year old Maggie de Tar tried to do was keep up with her swimming pal, Ethan Cordes.

She kept up all right, eventually passing him and everyone else during the inaugural Coeur d'Alene Crossing, an impressive feat for the Post Falls teenager who doesn't much care for lake swimming versus racing in a pool.

"I usually don't do open water," de Tar said, after she crossed the lake from Arrow Point to the Hagadone Event Center in 53 minutes and 3 seconds. "I don't really like it. I don't really like distance."

But her parents nudged her just enough to compete, and once the 100 and 200 meter breaststroke racer got out on the water, natural ability took over.

"It didn't even seem like we were at a face pace," she said, of her and swimming partner Cordes' clip. "Except for the last straightaway. I was tired."

Around 160 swimmers dove into the inaugural lake crossing Sunday, powering through a 2.4 mile swim in the name of charity. Lake temperature was a balmy 72 degrees when the swimmers, from young to old, were boated across the lake to Arrow Point - where they were dropped off around 8 a.m. and told to swim back to the Hagadone Events Center.

"I wanted to do the inaugural," said Kathy Gentili, a recreational swimmer from Spokane Valley who was all smiles when she finished the crossing, and crawled to the shore of The Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course. "I wanted to do a first of something, and I did."

The idea was brainstormed by a group of local businessmen, and proceeds will go to North Idaho College, The Union Gospel Mission and CAST, the Coeur d'Alene Area Swim Team, which boasted a number of top flight swimmers, like de Tar, in the competition.

Swim conditions were ideal, with a smooth surface save the waves from other swimmers chopping and kicking.

"It was pretty rough," said Nicholas Brown, 12, from Oregon, who was in the front pack before finishing 9th overall. "Arms hurting, legs hurting, but I did it ... ninth place."

After the swim, breakfast and coffee was served near the beach, which looks out to the starting spot, Arrow Point, with Tubbs Hill to the west.

"This is the most awesome experience I've had with an open water swim," said Scott Gibbs, of Kellogg, adding the scenery made the experience. "I turned 50 so I'm doing some bucket list items. Getting my bucket list squared away."

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