On most days, 14-year-old Hannah Kolsky swims and swims and swims within the lane lines of the aqua blue pools in her home town of Red Wing. On Saturday, she swam in a slightly less structured body of water -- Lake Superior.

Kolsky is among the growing number of teens, tweens and Minnesotans in general participating in the Point to LaPointe Swim, a fascinating and beautiful event in which swimmers cross the 2.1 mile channel of the lake from Bayfield, Wisc., to Madeline Island. More than 400 swimmers of all ages completed the seventh annual swim -- nearly half from the Twin Cities area. Two dozen were 19 or younger. A nine-year-old from the Chicago area was the youngest to attempt the crossing.

Kolsky said she wanted to complete the swim just "so I could say that I did it" and because, compared to other lakes, there aren't many weeds in the cold great lake. With a loose network of kayakers and buoys guiding swimmers to the finish on the island, Kolsky said it was challenging to plot a straight course and to swim through and over the choppy waves. Two miles wasn't a tall order for Kolsky -- who has been a dedicated swimmer since kindergarten -- but she entered the water with one niggling fear.

"I'm not really scared of the length or anything," she said. "What scares me is the fish. I made the mistake of going to a museum that had all of the exotic fish of Lake Superior. So that kind of freaked me out. But it wasn’t that bad."



The above picture shows the crossing the morning before the race. The finish is on the horizon in the background.

Kolsky will be a ninth-grader at Red Wing High School this fall and plans to swim for the high school team. Beyond finishing, she placed 105 overall and beat her father by 9 minutes. Her family had her wear a swim cap with a smiley face on it so they could try to pick her out of all of the other swimmers with bright caps and black wetsuits and cheer her on at the finish.




Also completing the Point to LaPointe swim: Libby Larson, 19, of Detroit Lakes; Tracy Perish, 19, of Duluth; Andrea Kittleson, 17, of White Bear Lake; Hannah Hoff, 15, of Eagan; Sydney Brau, 18, of Eden Prairie; Mattea Allert, 19, of Minneapolis; Courtney Cleveland, 18, of Shorewood; Sydney Roath, 17, of White Bear Lake; Zachary Schendel, 19, of Faribault; Aaron Erickson, 19, of Montevideo; and Benjamin Meline, 19, of Minneapolis.

Cool Things Kids Do is an occasional series on the extraordinary kids and teens in this community. Know of any kids doing amazing things, big or small? Email jeremy.olson@startribune.com.

Prior blogs from the series:
  1. Chaska teen speaks at White House
  2. Lemonade fundraiser for cancer victim
  3. Growing Veggies and Feeding the Hungry
  4. 10th Grader Earns Top Nature Photo Honor
  5. Collection Drive Nets 900 Books for Needy Kids
  6. Central senior links classmates to career advice


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