In Search of Memphre

In Search of Memphre

In years past, American marathon swimmers Sarah ThomasCraig Lenning, Elaine Howley, and Pat Gallant-Charette have completed the cryptozoological Triple Crown.

The quartet are conquerors of the Triple Crown of Lake Monster Swims when they completed crossings of Loch Ness in Scotland with Nessie (the Loch Ness Monster), Lake Tahoe in California with Tessie (Tahoe Tessie), and Lake Memphremagog in Vermont with Memphre.

This summer, 14 swimmers are scheduled to attempt the In Search of Memphre, one of the stages of the cryptozoological Triple Crown. John Batchelder will attempt a two-way butterfly crossing on August 31st to one-up his one-way butterfly crossing in 2018.  Elizabeth Almond will attempt on July 6th, Margaret Rivard on July 12th, Martin McMahon and Amy Frick on July 26th, Gen Mackwood and Ian Grimmer on August 1st, Andrea Nelson on August 17th, an anonymous swimmer and Laurie Craigen on August 22nd, Michael Pollanen and Leslie Hamilton on September 5th, and Kellie Latimer and Nadine Bennett on September 12th.

In Search of Memphre is a 40.2 km international cross-border marathon swimming event on Lake Memphremagog organized by Phil White of the Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association.

Phil White explains, “The Canadian Border has opened to allow the resumption of In Search of Memphre, the swim across the length of Lake Memphremagog between Newport, Vermont and Magog, Quebec.  The news arrived last week that pre-approval was possible once again to allow Swimmer Scouts, crew, and boat pilots to cross into Canada during their swims.  The last two Swimmer Scouts to complete their swims were Shannon House Keegan, who completed a single crossing and Stephen Rouch who completed a 50-mile double crossing in 2019.

In Search of Memphre was started in 2011 by Elaine Kornbau Howley, Phil White and Kingdom Games, with the support of Barbara Malloy on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 – to promote a more open border with our Canadian friends and to seek our elusive, swimmer friendly, lake creature, Memphre.  That first year, 10 swimmers started out at midnight from Newport, facing fierce winds from the north. Four of the ten completed: Elizabeth Fry, Charlotte Brynn, Greg O’Connor, and Elaine Kornbau Howley. 

The swim has been run each year since then, except for the pandemic related hiatus of the past two years. In all, 42 amateur marathon swimmers have completed the swim. They have traveled from Connecticut (1), Vermont (3), Massachusetts (5), Rhode Island (1), New York (6), Maryland (3), Illinois (2), Colorado (4), California (2), Florida (1), Oregon (2), Nebraska (1), New Hampshire (1), Maine (2), Washington (1), Great Britain (1), New Jersey (1), and Indiana (1).

The oldest to complete the swim is 70-year-old Dan Shub; the youngest is 14-year-old Vera Rivard. Sarah Thomas was the first to complete a double crossing (2013). 

The swim is organized by Kingdom Games, which hosts over 50 days of swimming, running, and biking events in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and the Eastern Townships of Quebec.  Piloting the motorboats escorting each swimmer this year are Phil White, Rob Andersen, and Heidi Brynn.

We are especially pleased that three Canadians are among the Swimmer Scouts participating in this swim over the course of this summer.

We are also pleased to announce that we have just now opened registrations for 2023, with seven three-day windows capable of taking 1 or 2 swimmers in each window. We pick the best day of the three to make the crossing. Each swimmer is provided a motorboat and an experienced boat pilot.

Steven Munatones