Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swims 2014

evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
edited August 2013 in Event Announcements
Phil White continues to expand the lineup of swims offered by NEKOWSA in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. There are now seven marathon swims of 10km or longer, headlined by the 6th Annual 10-mile Kingdom Swim.

In the "ultra" category, Phil has added a 15-mile cold-water swim in Lake Memphremagog on October 2, to complement the 25-mile In Search of Memphre on September 6.

Very exciting stuff. Thank you, Phil!

June 14, 2014 - Sixth Annual Son of a Swim -- 2, 4, and 6 mile swims in Lake Memphremagog. (Can be used as a qualifier for Kingdom Swim)

July 12, 2014 - Sixth Annual Kingdom Swim - 10 mile, 6 mile, 3 mile, 1 mile swims for adults and youth, plus ¼ mile and 100 yard swims for youth. On Lake Memphremagog, Kingdom Swim is now the venue for the WOWSA 10 Mile World Open Water Championship. Caps of 100 swimmers per course. The swim is held in conjunction with Kingdom Aquafest, including The Frontier Animal Society's Pet, Swimmers & Yackers Parade on Friday evening before the swim.

August 2, 2014 - Fourth Annual Seymour Swim - 3.5 mile and 1.75 mile swimming only option but also part of Kingdom Triathlon. We figured, while we had the buoys up we might as well invite swimmers to join us in one of the most pristine lakes in The Americas.

8 Lakes - 43 Miles - 4 Marathons

August 9 through 17, 2014
No Lanes - No Lines - No Buoys
swim one day or up to all eight with longer or shorter swims each day
Great room rates at The Highland Lodge, Greensboro, VT

August 9, 2014 - Crystal Swim - Swim to the cliffs, hang a right, swim to Moose Rock, cross the lake to the railroad tracks, head north back to Crystal State Beach. 4 miles +/- in a spring-fed marvel.

August 10, 2014 - Island Pond Swim - From the Public Dock, swim around the island, on to Brighton State Beach, run the sand and swim back 4 miles +/-

August 11, 2014 - Green River Reservoir Swim - From the canoe access, swim the loop around One Tree beyond Picnic Island all the way down Little Italy and around Big Island on the way back. +/-6.2 miles in a beautiful, protected reservoir - no motor boats allowed. Marathon Swim #1

August 12, 2014 - Seymour Swim - Enter at the state beach on Route 111, swim to Wolf's Point, then on to the dam across the lake, back to Dave Anderson's Boat House by One Mile Road and back to the beach. 6.2 miles +/- Marathon Swim #2

August 13, 2014 - Massawippi Swim - Ayers Cliff, QC - Swim the length of the lake between Ayer's Cliff and North Hatley (9 miles +/-) Or swim to Blueberry Point and return. Marathon Swim #3.

August 14, 2014 - Memphremagog Swim - From The Clubhous around Bell and Black Islands, to The Cut at Province Island, east for a mile right along the international border to Eagle Point, past cove Island on your way back to The Cluhous (6.2 miles) Marathon Swim #4.

August 16, 2014 - Fifth Annual Willoughby Swim - A no-nonsense, 5 mile swim on one of the most majestic and pristine, glacially carved lakes in the Americas.

August 17, 2014 - Caspian Swim - 3 miles to Bathtub Rock and back or 1.5 miles to The Rock, Caspian is a hidden jewel. Just a great way to end a great week of open water swimming.


September 6, 2014 - In Search of Memphre,
- An epic 25 mile, cold water "expeditionary" swim the length of Lake Memphremagog between Newport, VT and Magog, QC. To search for our legendary and swimmer friendly lake creature - To promote a more open border with our Canadian friends and family members - To raise money for one or more worthy causes.

October 4, 2014 - Georgeville or Bust - A 15 mile, international, cold water swim between Newport, VT and Georgeville, QC. Water temps guaranteed to be below 60 F or your money back. The search continues with this one.


  • minamina Newton, MAMember
    I'm very excited for these - it's nice to get a stretch of events rather than traveling some distance for a single swim. Swam Kingdom, Willoughby and Caspian this year, hope to get in more pristine lakes in 2014!
  • FilFil Derby, VTCharter Member
    edited November 2013
    Status Report: A strong early response to our 8 Lake Swim the Kingdom Week - should be fun. Just rhree slots left in The Search. if anyone is thinking about signing on, please let me know. And, we're already hard at it working on a parade theme for Kingdom Swim - Zombies, Alice in Wonderland, Below the Sea, Gods and Goddesses. Just don't know.

    For a great YouTube video slide show of last year's Kingdom Swim:

    For now, we're looking at the snow on Jay peak and placing bets on the first real snow fall in the valley and when the lake will freeze over.
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    What is the water temp expected to be in July, @fil?
  • Just signed up for the Memphre Swim - 9/6/14 - my 63rd Birthday - let's party!
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    I'll be there to help Mo.
  • FrancoFranco Chestertown, MDCharter Member
    I just sent over my registration for Memphre as well. Looking forward to seeing you all there.

    @heart- I have done Kingdom Swim a few times and I think temps were in low to mid 70's one time and around 68 the other time.
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    Beautiful, @Franco. Thank you!
  • FilFil Derby, VTCharter Member
    Water temps on Memphremagog are very dependent on recent weather. In July they have ranged from 68 to 75 and they vary from spot to spot.

    In September, In Search of Memphre, they have varied from 60 to 71 depending on the conditions.
  • FilFil Derby, VTCharter Member
    A wonderful roster has signed on for In Search of Memphre 2014. Very exciting. We've significantly expanded the patrol boat support, so we still have room for up to four more swimmers in 2014. No two timing, double crossers this year. Still need to catch up on my sleep after Sarah Thomas went crazy last year.

    1 Keegan Shannon F 39 Talent OR
    2 Sheckler Erica F 36 Oaks PA
    3 Yankauskas Paula F 58 Hyde Park VT
    4 Uprichard David M 47 NY NY
    5 Prezioso Franco M 48 Bel Air MD
    6 Siegel Mo M 63 Piermont NY
    7 Van Der Byl Graclyn F 36 Solana Beach CA
    8 von Spiegelfeld Ann F 52 Tampa FL

    Two guarantees: Every swimmer will receive a complementary one pound bag of Brault's beef jerky. Winds will be UNPREDICTABLE.

    Some photos of last year:

  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    And an even better roster is signed up for Kingdom Swim on July 12.
  • FilFil Derby, VTCharter Member
    Heard it first here, The Pet and Swimmers Parade Theme is a John Belushi look alike contest, with a Blues Brothers kazoo marching band, straight from Promentory Point. Actual heirloom Togas are being shipped up from Hanover. Samarai wigs, well, we're still working on that.
  • Cole_GCole_G PhiladelphiaMember
    Haha that parade sounds like it is going to be awesome!

    I am very excited to be doing my first 10 miler at the Sixth Annual Kingdom Swim, it sounds like it will be a ton of fun.

    Just out of curiosity, what is the course setup like for the Kingdom Swim?
  • jendutjendut Charter Member
    it is a very large oval/rectangle - out across the lake, along the side towards the Canada border, back across the lake and around some islands, then along the near side to the finish/start. Seems to always be calmish the way out, rocky across and around the curve, then ok the home stretch; it always seems like 3 distinct segments to me... For some reason I struggle to visually find the finish, but I think this is a personal problem since everyone else seems to do fine!
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    After you round the islands up at the east side of the border, it is a long slog south to Newport. I always find this part to be the hardest (mentally).
  • jendutjendut Charter Member
    Yes, ditto that Greg. Plus, that is when it is hardest to see anything AND when I start getting hungry and (yelling at) talking to my kayaker/husband.
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    I can't find the course map on @Fil's site, but here is a blog with the 10-mile course mapped out.
  • Cole_GCole_G PhiladelphiaMember
    Thanks for the link. Looks like an interesting course.

    Reading through that whole blog entry I find it interesting that the swimmer used channel grease. As I said this is going to be my first attempt at a swim this long, is grease really a necessity for a swim of this length?
  • FrancoFranco Chestertown, MDCharter Member
    I have done the swim a few times without any grease and was fine, You may want to use something for areas prone to chafe. I like to use

    Hey @Fil, I think you have to come up for an award for @Kevin_in_MD for that suit.
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    I've never needed grease but might this time because it looks more dramatic
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    edited March 2014
    The water is warm (70+) and it is fresh. No need for grease. You may want Desitin for sun protection and as @Franco mentioned, Vasoline for rub/chafe spots.
  • jendutjendut Charter Member
    Channel grease is not nec in fresh water (the salt water changes things quite a bit) for this amount of time - Greg is the Desitin King, so he has a very good, dare I say "dramatic," look when he gets ready to go. Basic vaseline/aquaphor/body glide should do the trick if you have trouble spots with straps, whiskers, whatever.
  • JBirrrdJBirrrd MarylandSenior Member
    edited March 2014
    @Franco said:
    Hey @Fil, I think you have to come up for an award for @Kevin_in_MD for that suit.
    I just realized that it was Kevin's suit I was sighting on across the center home stretch part of the course last year. Thought I was hallucinating...polka dotted hot pink moving buoy.

    @Cole_G You are in for a treat. Kingdom Swim is an amazing event in gorgeous Vermont country. The community loves & welcomes ow swimmers. Where else does a town shut down main street to celebrate swimmers with a parade? Enjoy and best wishes on your first 10 miler. :-)
  • Cole_GCole_G PhiladelphiaMember
    I am glad to hear so many people confirm that this race is a great as I thought when I signed up. I am very excited to take my first step into marathon swimming at such a beautiful and welcoming venue. I appreciate the best wishes and I will be sure to post an update as to how the race treats me :)
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
    On a scale of 1 to 10, the Kingdom Swim is a 10. A fantastic scenic venue, very well organized by Phil and his army of volunteers (waffles, maple syrup and beef jerky). An uplifting vibe from start to finish. It was the first open water mile my son ever swam and the experience was so positive - a Woodal is something to treasure.

    A side trip we took while visiting was the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal ( - and that was a major hit as well. If the dates coincide, I highly recommend taking in the festival as well. I look forward to making it back to Vermont soon and taking the whole family.
  • FilFil Derby, VTCharter Member
    Working on Kevin's Award. Glad to know Janet's secret of success. Going to tell the lead kayaker at SCAR to fly some pink polka dot undies, to help her sight.
  • FilFil Derby, VTCharter Member
    edited May 2014
    Status of our NEKOWSA swims: The miracle of Summer is fast upon us. Loon are busy calling this evening joined by the peepers in the swamp back of The Clubhous.

    Registration closes on June 1st for Kingdom Swim. Our 8 Lake 43 mile 4 marathon Swim the Kingdom Week in August seems to be hitting its stride but still has room for a few more. And we have two openings left for our 25 mile international swim In Search of Memphre. Some fine mischief ahead.
  • Question about the course map. What do the labels mean? 1, 1a, 2, 2a, etc. Is that where there will be a buoy? I did the 6 mile a few years ago, and am doing the 10 this year. I remember the markers being few and far between and I swam 7.3 miles for my 6 mile swim. Hoping to keep it as close to 10 as possible! Thanks.
  • jendutjendut Charter Member
    IME the toughest part of the 10 mile course is after you round the islands and think you are halfway home- the buoys seem very far apart between numbers 6-7 there on that map. There are some motorboats out there, but for some reason it still is hard to make sense of direction at that point! I think 6a is a buoy but my kayaker would recall more accurately since we are usually having a "spirited discussion" about my "control issues" about then...
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    Friends - emergency Kingdom Swim query: My maltodextrin well has run dry and I'm already in Montreal. Where can I get some malto, or Vitargo, or the like, in Montreal, or in Newport, or on the road between?
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    Look for a GNC or Vitamin Shoppe. They have products that are pure maltodextrin
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    I'll be coming up on Friday. Do you want me to bring some up?
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    Could you, @gregoc? That would be really, really nice of you. My email is - let's coordinate.
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    Saved; will be in possession of malto tomorrow night. Thank you, kind marathoners that came to the rescue!
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    @gregoc saved the day! Feedings are ready for tomorrow! Ran into a number of terrific forum members, some of whom are doing the 15-miler tomorrow. Best of luck to everyone!
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member
    Any Spot trackers or twitter feeds active for this? I'm sitting at home doing a deployment for a customer so would love to have something to distract me. The link for @heart 's tracker seems to be down. - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    dc_in_sf wrote:
    Any Spot trackers or twitter feeds active for this?

    That would surprise me, Dave. The swimmers are kayak supported, and the field is generally too big to get power boats in with the exception of emergencies (my opinion as a former swimmer, anyhow). It's "only" a 10 mile circuit, so not as much drama as a channel crossing or the Lake crossing in September.

    It's an excellent swim, though. I'd like to go up for the September crossing one year. @Fil does an excellent job.

  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    Sarah Thomas passed Shipp at the 9 mile mark. Brynn was close behind. Franco is the endurance machine with about 4 miles to go on the 15 mile swim that went into Canada.
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    Yeah, my tracker seemed to be on in the morning but for some reason malfunctioned. It was a beautiful day with perfect conditions and lots of good people. Race report tomorrow - this evening is all about Netflix in bed!
  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Mem​ber
    I've logged some serious miles in Memphremagog in the last 10 months- and you're missing out if you don't get up there. There's something for everyone!
  • Cole_GCole_G PhiladelphiaMember
    Had an absolutely amazing experience at this swim! Such a wonderful town, lake, and event. Couldn't think of a better place to try my first 10 miler. I am definitely hooked and ready to start trying for bigger and longer swims.
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
  • Kevin_in_MDKevin_in_MD Senior Member
    edited July 2014
    timsroot wrote:
    That would surprise me, Dave. The swimmers are kayak supported,

    Phil and I discussed using the same system Ron uses in Tampa, it's a cell phone based system. But he elected not to use it for the ten miler. Maybe he'll reconsider for next time around.

  • Kevin_in_MDKevin_in_MD Senior Member
    The folks at the Kingdom Swim do a great job. My 5th? try ended badly for me, but I had a great time seeing friends and family finish the various races. highly recommend the swim.
  • FilFil Derby, VTCharter Member
    Thanks, Kevin. You are one of two "lifers" so that would be your "6th" appearance at Kingdom Swim. Hope your back recovers well and strong.

    Here's a link to my recap for this year's swim.

    We're now looking down the barrel of two tris, Willoughby Tri and Aquaman & Ollie Even Ups and then on to a joyful week of swimming, 8 lakes in 9 days. Can't wait. This summer is just flyin' by.
  • FilFil Derby, VTCharter Member
    Here's my report on Swim the Kingdom - 8 Lakes, 9 days, 45 miles. Short version: Some great swimming, wonderful good spirits, terrific lakes, and a few laughs along the way.

    Long version:

    During the week August 9 through 17, 2014, scores of swimmers descended on the legendary lakes of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and the Eastern Townships of Quebec. They came from all over North America to participate in one or more swims during Swim the Kingdom Week – 8 Lakes in 9 days, totaling 45 miles including four marathon swims. Crystal (5 Miles), Island Pond (4 miles), Echo (7 Miles), Seymour (6.2 miles) Massawippi (9 miles) Memphremagog (6.2 Miles), Willoughby (5 miles), and Caspian (3 miles). In all, a total of 65 swimmers ranging in age from 10 year old Vera Rivard of Springfield, NH to 67 year old Bob Aitcheson of Rippon, West Virginia. They travelled from California, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine with a strong contingent from New Hampshire and Vermont. The provinces of Ontario and Quebec were also represented. The event was hosted by the Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association and Kingdom Games. Over 25 volunteer kayakers and 17 volunteer motor boats made these swims possible. Special treat, to be greeted and supported by Alec van Zuiden, Mayor of Ayer’s Cliff, Peter McHarg. Council Member, and Francois of College Servite. The police boat was a big hit among the swimmers at Lac Massawippi, as was the after dinner at Auberge Ayer’s Cliff.

    Three swimmers completed all 8 swims. Janet Harris, 48 of New York, NY swam the full 45 mile distance in all 8 lakes without a wet suit. Paula Yankauskas 60 of Hyde Park, VT also swam the full 45 miles but used a wet suit on some days. Lori Carena, 60, of Brooklyn, NY did all eight swims without a wet suit, but took the short course at The Clubhous “slash” swim on Lake Memphremagog on Thursday. (Swimmers swam around Bell Island to “the slash” at the border at Province Island, along the border to “the slash” on the old Dunn property and then back to The Clubhous. Most of the registrants did 2 to 5 swims at various times during the week.

    The week culminated in two races in Willoughby and Caspian.

    Charlotte Brynn, 47, of Stowe, Vermont, dominated the weekend races. Brynn posted times of 2:02:58 for Willoughby’s 5 mile swim and 1:17:21 for Caspian’s 3 mile swim from the “Hardwick” Beach to Bathtub Rock and back.
    Stealing the show and the hearts of the 21 open water swimmers who showed up for Sunday’s Crystal Lake “rough water” swim, was 10 year old, Vera Rivard of Springfield, NH, who completed the 3 mile swim in challenging, wavy conditions in 1:43:42. Watching Vera take on one white capped wave after another with the quiet determination and confidence of an experienced open water swimmer had to be the highlight of Swim the Kingdom Week.

    On Saturday, at Willoughby, Brynn, who serves as the Director of Stowe’s Swimming Hole, posted the winning time of 2:02:58 for the 5 mile swim from South Beach to North Beach. Finishing Second and third among the women were Sarah Greskopf, 34 of San Francisco, CA with a time of 2:14:03 and Janet Harris, 48, of New York City who came in four minutes later at 2:18:34. Harris was one of three swimmers who swam all 8 lakes during the week. She added an informal trip to Green River Reservoir on Friday, a day set aside for rest before the big race at Willoughby.

    First among the men at Willoughby was Bill Pease, 60, of Berkeley, CA who was second overall with a time of 2:07:57. David Uprichard, 48, of New York City posted a time of 2:10:15 followed by Alan Giese, 48, of Barnet, VT. Uprichard will be returning to The Kingdom in September to join In Search of Memphre on September 6, 2014, a 25 mile international swim between Newport, VT and Magog, QC.

    The fastest two times of the day were posted in the men’s wet suit division, by Adam Homoki, 24, of Boston, MA with a time of 1:45:30 (5 miles) and Kevin Sullivan, 53 of Chelmsford, MA who was just 7 minutes of the pace with his time of 1:52:10. Jim Podolske, 59, of Pepperell, MA, placed third in 2:42:18.

    Winning the women’s wet suit division was Last year’s NEKOWSA Swimmer of the Year Paula Yankauskas, 60 of Hyde Park coming in in 2:19:52. Paula was also one of those who swam all 8 lakes during the week. Paula will also be joining The Search for Memphre in September. Not far behind her was 56 year old Margaret Haskins of Morrisville, VT swimming the longest she has ever swum in her life, in 2:22:36. Marty Munson, 50, from New York City placed third with a time of 2:38:08.

    Winning the prize for the most “mature” was 67 year old Bob Aitchesan of Rippon, West Virginia. Last one back to the barn was Laura Malieswski of Westmore, who won a copy of the recently published book on Memphre by Barbara Mallow, Vermont’s First Lady Dracontologist.

    The week started in sunny, still, warm conditions on Crystal, Island Pond, and Echo Lakes. Air temps in the 80’s. Water temps in the high 60s and low 70s. A visit to Parker Pie West Glover after the Crystal swim and then to Mike’s Tiki Bar in East Burke (with 30 beers on tap) after Island Pond set the tone of the week. Swim in the morning and relax in the afternoon. But the weather got feistier starting with the Seymour swim on Tuesday, Massawippi on Wednesday and Memphremagog’s Clubhous/Slash swim on Thursday. Nice push through the Willoughby Gap on Saturday. By the time we got to Sunday’s Caspian Swim, swimmers faced increasing winds, rain on and off, and lowering Fall-like air temperatures. It was in the face of these conditions that 10 year old Vera Rivard shown like a beacon.

    The Willoughby Swim started in 2010 with 12 swimmers. It has grown steadily to 36 registrants and 29 in the water this year. The Caspian Swim started in 2012 with 5 swimmers. Last year it grew to 15. This year registrants totaled 25 with 21 actually in the water. And, this year, Caspian became a good spirited race. Brynn, again topped the field. But, Uprichard came back from his second place finish in Willoughby to top the men’s field at Caspian with a time of 1:20:50 with.

    But, speed and distance were really secondary to some of the other shining moments of the week as open water swimmers enjoyed some of the most beautiful and pristine lakes in the Americas, congregated and relaxed together, slowed down to a summertime pace in The Kingdom, and swam. Did they ever!!

    This was only the second year of the full Swim the Kingdom Week. Next year’s “Week” will be run on August 8 through August 16, 2015.

    Swim the Kingdom Week 2014 - Photos

    Fil’s Faves of Swim the Kingdom 2014 (still loading more in with each day)

    Saturday – Crystal Lake – 4 Miles, errrr, 4.75 Miles

    Sunday - Island Pond – 4 Miles

    Monday – Echo Lake – 12 K 2x round the perimeter

    Tuesday – Seymour – 10 K

    Wednesday – Massawippi – Ayer’s Cliff to North Hatley – 9 + Miles 10Kslideshow/6047361636278884514

    Thursday – Memphremagog - The Clubhous Slash – 10K more or less

    Saturday – Willoughby – Beach to Beach – 5 miles, straight up.

    Sunday – Caspian – “Hardwick” Beach to Bathtub Rock and back - 3 miles OR NOT 1.5 miles

    For some captions of some of the pics, check out my Facebook Page or the Kingdom Swim Facebook Page. For more info, contact Phil White at

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