Live4Love founder and events director Andrea Storms has a passion for people, learning, and faith-based wellness.
She instills that passion by helping and connecting with others, as well as rebuilding the recreation area around Lake Clare near Huntington.
“I really wanted to see the hidden gem of Lake Clare come alive again,” said Storms, a Huntington native. “It used to be a heartbeat of this town, of this community. We want to see it get there again.”
She has established a partnership with Ruble Racing, run by local triathlon coach Zach Ruble, which played host to its Huntington triathlon July 11 at Lake Clare with half Ironman, sprint and Olympic distances.
“We (Live4Love) are the support team, providing aquatics safety, and when we come off the water, we help man the first aid stations, as well as having food trucks for the events,” Storms said.
“It’s a very spectator-friendly course. That is one of the best things about the course. The bike’s kind of hard to have full spectatorship, but many parts of the run are spectator friendly, and the swim has visibility from almost the entire lakeside. It’s beautiful.”
In addition to the triathlons, Storms is working to resurrect the heritage of open-water swimming at Lake Clare, something that her family has participated in with connections to longtime Huntington YMCA coach Glenn Hummer.
“My grandfather and my uncle were Hummer swimmers,” she said, “Most of us share the heritage of swimming Lake Clare when it was a public swim beach. There were diving boards and things like that out there. It was always the place to go. The kids would go and swim, have fun, be outside, enjoy the weather. Lake Clare was known to be the training waters of Hummer swimmers and U.S. Olympians.”
The Sept. 18 open-water swim event at Lake Clare is slated to have two-mile, one-mile, sprint (825 yards) and “Li’l Hummer Splash” (300 yards) aimed at advanced pool swimmers, beginner level open-water swimmers and endurance athletes.
“The Huntington Mile was a USA qualifying event until 2014, the last known race,” Storms said. “It has been our (Live4Love) dream to resurrect the event as well as weekly open water swim practices.”
“There’s not really any open water swimming in the Midwest,” Storms said. “You’ll see some at Lake Michigan. I saw one in Ohio and one near Indianapolis. But you usually have to go to Florida or another coastal place. A lot of the places where there are bigger triathlons, there may be an open-water swim. We’re trying to bring it back. It’s an amazing sport. I think the trials we faced last year, it was important that we were able to come together outdoors. Continue training in the open waters of Lake Clare, maintain the distance, but still be able to foster the things we needed like community.”
In addition to the swimming events, Storms and her crew at Live4Love offer a variety of recreation and wellness opportunities for the community, including kayak and paddleboard rentals, stand-up paddleboarding, stand-up paddleboard yoga, park yoga, and additional services such as aquatics and lifeguard certifications and nutrition consultations from Storms’ daughter Sabrina Goshen, a registered dietitian.
“I’m a daughter-inspired mom,” Storm said. “I’ve watched (Sabrina) bike across America. I watched her compete in Olympic heavyweight. I watched her endure trials and persevere and end up graduating at the top of her class at Rutgers.
“It’s been amazing to watch her, to have her feeding in my ear with suggestions, ‘These are endurance athletes, do this.’ That aspect also organically grew, since many of our athletes out there, they’re in tune with their diets. And when they’re asking those questions, I’m able to refer those questions to Sabrina.”
While the connections that Storms has built and established have created momentum, the growth has local support from county leaders to build the foundation of Lake Clare being a center point of recreation and community in Huntington.
“Really, it’s been a partnership between EJ Carroll, the Huntington Township trustee,” Storms said. “He had a mission to bring recreation back to Lake Clare along with the Parkview Huntington YMCA. Then I came alongside and said, ‘Let’s do this!’
“We all had the same vision, and Ruble Racing came into the picture. It’s been a good network that’s grown organically. We all have the same vision. We have a lot of recreation planned at Lake Clare. We just kept teaming up, and bringing people on board.”
For additional information about the services and upcoming events, go to www.live4love.net