Memphremagog Winter Swimming Festival Begins Friday

Memphremagog Winter Swimming Festival Begins Friday

While competitive winter swimming goes back decades in Europe and took off with the emergence of the International Winter Swimming Association under the leadership of Mariia Yrjö-Koskinen, competitive winter swimming in America really took off with the support of Phil White who is hosting again the annual Memphremagog Winter Swimming Festival on February 25th – 27th in Vermont.

White explains, “The pool will be cut in Lake Memphremagog by Michael Booth on Thursday.  Platforms will be dropped into the pool on Friday.  We will have a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 3:00 pm on Friday with a one-gun, potato gun salute, and a celebratory 25-meter swim by the local pod of winter swimmers, the Shark Bait Sheilas to inaugurate the pool and welcome winter swimmers and volunteers to Newport. All followed by a Warm Up gathering of swimmers and volunteers at Jaspers and dinner at various restaurants around town. 

Swimming starts on Saturday morning with a joyful and outrageous Hat Competition.  At the end of the first day, Barr Hill of Caledonia Spirits sponsors our Jammie and Vodka Shooter Party, followed by an Award Ceremony and Banquet. Swimming continues on Sunday morning.

Over 100 winter swimmers along with 40 volunteers from Alaska, California, Oregon, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont as well as from Ontario and New Brunswick in Canada are scheduled to compete.  All swimmers and volunteers are required to be fully vaccinated and boosted and test negative within 24 hours of their arrival.

The Memphremagog Winter Swimming Festival is organized and hosted by Kingdom Games with the help of its Advisory Board including Greg O’Connor, Janet Kylander Manning, Charlotte Brynn, Rena Demeo, Kellie Latimer, Rick Born, and Jaimie Monahan.

Event schedule is available here.

Photo above shows Memphremagog Winter Swimming Society at pool side in Lake Memphremagog.

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Steven Munatones