Out Of The Wood, Into The Ice

Out Of The Wood, Into The Ice

Courtesy of Phil White, Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival offshore the Mighty Memphremagog, Vermont.

Phil White, visionary behind the 2nd annual Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival, described the winter swimming meet in Lake Memphremagog, Vermont, “Swimmers came from all over the United States and Canada. They brought their bathing suits, their funny hats, their exuberance, and their camaraderie to the Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival.

The winter swim was held in a 25-meter, two- lane pool, cut in the ice by the EastSide Restaurant in Newport, Vermont on the weekend of March 5th and 6th. Eden Ice Cider and the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center were the underwriting sponsors.

The weekend was hosted by the Memphremagog Winter Swimming Society, Kingdom Games, the EastSide Restaurant and Newport City Inn & Suites with the help of over 20 volunteers, Michael Booth, and Newport Parks and Recreation.

Mighty Memphremagog smiled on this year’s event with some of the best days of the winter: sunny and in the mid-20ºFs during the swim with tight winds and about 18-inch ice on the lake. The water temperature in the pool was 31.5ºF (-0.2ºC).

The Festival started with a 25-meter breaststroke and Best in Hat Competition. Jaimie Monahan and Arik Thormahlen of New York City won the hat competition going away with their fiery Memphre head pieces blowing green and blue smoke and their synchronized claw action as they made their claim to a one pound bag of Brault’s Beef Jerky. Runners up were Lynn Kubasek of California and Amanda Hunt of Illinois for their accidentally coordinated pink flamingo hats.

This year’s events included the 25-meter breaststroke, 25-meter freestyle, 50-meter freestyle, and 100-meter freestyle on Saturday and the 25-meter butterfly and 200-meter freestyle followed by four person 200-meter relays to finish things off.)

Overall winner of the 200-meter freestyle was 53-year-old winter swimming newcomer Martha Wood of Massachusetts [shown with Charlotte Brynn and Kellie Latimer above].

Podium winners received Woodals (Cedarwood Medals), Brault’s Beef Jerky, and Couture’s Maple Syrup as prizes. All of the participants received Memphremagog Winter Swimming Society fleeces, swim caps, and bumper stickers.

Wood, a former water polo player at Harvard University, spent years out of the water. But the open water swimming bug bit her big-time in her second half of life. “When the idea of open water swimming was introduced to me, I thought it was nuts. Now, I often train in the Atlantic Ocean as well as the pool.”

And now she has also moved into winter swimming – with times that are not only competitive with women decades younger than her, but also with the men in the 50, 100 and 200m freestyle events. But her level of involvement in the sport goes even to dryland. Her jewelry design business includes a touch of the nautical and marine; one of her jewelry lines includes a seaweed theme [example shown here].

Ice tongs were presented to the most mature swimmers of the weekend, 76-year-old Barnabus Zeng and 68-year-old Kathleen McDonnell. Carlos Alvarez of Puerto Rico received an ice tong for travelling from the furthest southern location in his search for a cold water swim.

200m Freestyle Women’s Results
2.52.44 Martha Wood (53)
2.58.13 Charlotte Brynn (49)
3.08.71 Kellie Latimer (30)
3.10.12 Jaimie Monahan (36)
3.24.42 Janet Manning (52)
3.29.99 Ozlen Luznar (41)
3.53.9 Lelané Rossouw-Bancroft (38)

200m Freestyle Men’s Results
2.57.8 Frederick (Ted) Hirsch (55)
3.08.85 Arik Thormahlen (39)
3.09.52 Francois-Bernard Tremblay (46)
3.10.71 Greg O’Connor (47)
3.15.84 Richard Born (53)
4.11.55 Silverio Bracaglia (64)

100m Freestyle Women’s Results
1.20.87 Kellie Latimer (30)
1.21.08 Martha Wood (53)
1.22.20 Jaimie Monahan (36)
1.25.00 Charlotte Brynn (49)
1.25.42 Janet Manning (52)
1.27.21 Anne McLindon (48)
1.32.76 Caroline Block (31)
1.36.26 Ozlen Luznar (41)
1.37.27 Lelané Rossouw-Bancroft (38)
1.77.13 Nadine Bennett (43)

100m Freestyle Men’s Results
1.16.23 Greg O’Connor (47)
1.19.63 Arik Thormahlen (39)
1.22.95 Richard Born (53)
1.25.21 Talbott Crowell (48)
1.29.74 Francois Tremblay (43)
1.49.98 John Gale (60)
1.50.49 Silverio Bracaglia (64)

50m Freestyle Women’s Results
36.29 Kellie Latimer (30)
36.63 Jaimie Monahan (36)
36.81 Martha Wood (53)
37.09 Janet Manning (52)
38.44 Devon Clifford (26)
38.55 Charlotte Brynn (49)
40.57 Anne McLindon (48)
41.48 Caroline Block (31)
44.15 Ozlen Luznar (41)
45.13 Nadine Bennett (43)
46.1 Lelané Rossouw-Bancroft (38)
46.17 Rebecca Perry (47)
53.49 Paula Yankauskas (60)
53.79 Gemma Sim (33)
54.93 Amanda Hunt (46)
55.45 Lynn Kubasek (57)
56.1 Sarah Watson (36)
56.71 Brynna Tucker (38)
58.37 Helen Lin (31)
1.00.34 Robbie Bailey (47)
1.13.74 Kathleen McDonnell (68)

50m Freestyle Men’s Results
33.2 Arik Thormahlen (39)
34.34 Greg O’Connor (47)
35.47 Scott Zornig (56)
37.98 Richard Born (53)
38.65 Francois-Bernard Tremblay (46)
39.77 Thomas Hale (46)
42.06 Robert Bailey (49)
45.2 Carlos Alvarez (52)
47.81 John Gale (60)
50.09 Silverio Bracaglia (64)

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones