Kingston high school student to attempt 2.8-mile swin in Puget Sound

INDIANOLA — Kingston resident and Bainbridge High School senior Lawrence Trueb has always wanted to swim from Indianola to Bainbridge Island.

He’s lived in Kingston for the past 15 years and spent his childhood days playing on the beach, which sparked his interest in paddling the waters.

“I always thought it would be cool to swim over there,” he said standing on the Indianola dock, pointing to Bainbridge on Wednesday afternoon.

Today at 11:30 a.m. Trueb is taking the plunge he’s been dreaming of since he was a boy.

But the swim is more than a personal accomplishment for Trueb, it’s loaded with a graduation requirement and help for a dear friend.

Trueb will navigate the waters — which hover about the 40-degree mark — and travel the approximately 2.8 nautical miles from Indianola to Fay Bainbridge State Park to fulfill his senior project obligation and to raise money and awareness for the “brittle bone disease,” osteogenesis imperfecta.

His close friend since the ninth grade, whose name he requested be withheld, has OI and is confined to a wheelchair. When Trueb met the young man four years ago he said it took him a while to build up the courage to ask him about his situation. And once he learned about OI, Trueb was troubled and inspired, as there’s no cure for the disease.

Swimming the passage is his way to help.

“It was just awful to learn that people could be confined to a wheelchair and never walk for something that was out of their control. You’re born into it,” Trueb said. “I had an idea to swim and it didn’t take me very long to decide to swim for what after I learned about my friend.”

It’s no easy feat to swim nearly three miles in the frigid waters of the Puget Sound. Trueb began training in November.

First on the list was nixing soda, candy, evening bowls of ice cream and sugary cereals for breakfast from his diet. Next he implemented a workout regimen — jogging, basketball and evening pushup and situp sessions.

“I felt really, really good and could tell I was getting in better shape,” he said, “but I definitely wanted to be swimming more.”

In February he joined the Bainbridge Aquatic Masters, which is a group of competitive and pleasure swimmers who meet Monday through Thursday mornings.

He’s excused from first period to swim laps from 9-10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and within the last month he began open-water swimming twice a week.

Two weeks ago he finished his first long distance, open-water journey, as he swam the approximately 1.8 miles from Indianola to Port Madison.

“I was exhausted, but my muscles weren’t sore and I wasn’t fatigued,” said Trueb who was clad in a wetsuit Wednesday, as he was on his way to an open-water swim. “I feel like I’ve been over training. I feel like I was ready for this swim months ago.”

As for the water temperature, Trueb wears a wetsuit and said after 20 minutes the capillaries in his face and hands close up and stop working, bringing numbing relief.

He said he knows he’ll finish — hopefully in less than three hours — but of course he has a few reservations about spending more than 120 minutes in open salt water.

In the pool he can see the bottom, but in the Sound he can’t.

“You’re exposed,” he said. “I know the seals can get pretty big around here. Last week a seal was following me when I swam.”

But raising money for a good cause and helping a friend trumps any “stuff in the water” fears.

Trueb’s monetary goal is to raise $250. On Wednesday he’d accumulated $200, but said more people have committed. He’ll donate all the proceeds to the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation.

And today he’s jazzed to hit the waters. He’s been stocking up on carbohydrates all week, and getting in extra hours of stretching and pillow time. He’s undecided whether he’ll dive off the dock or walk in. Regardless he’s ready.

“It’s been on my mind for so long it’s going to be nice to have it over with, but I’m not necessarily excited to have it over with,” he said. “It will be a lot of fun and I’ll enjoy it.”

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