Summer Swimming In Lake Memphremagog

Summer Swimming In Lake Memphremagog

Courtesy of Phil White, Lake Memphremagog, Derby Bay, Vermont.

Phil White lives on the shores of Lake Memphremagog in Vermont. “His swimming headquarters in The Clubhous, the nerve center of the Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association, is nearly always buzzing with activity, enthusiasm and ideas and plans to grow open water swimming in the state of Vermont,” said Steven Munatones shown above with Lexie Kelly doing a Clubhous Swim in Derby Bay. “Phil is also the first race director who I know who is requiring swimmers to be vaccinated.”

White announced, “The Clubhous Gangstas are hard at it getting ready for a robust season of open water swimming and the Miracle of Summer in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.  Our legendary lakes may be frozen solid today.  It’s 10°C (-12.2°C) F and the wind is blowing hard outside, but the sap will start flowing next week, the Dandies are sure to arrive during High Spring as they trumpet, and summer is on the way.

With a nod to the pandemic that effectively shut down every major open water swimming competition in the continental USA in 2020, White described his new policy for swimming in his events, “With the assurance that vaccines will be available to every adult American by the end of May, we are requiring that every swimmer, yacker, and volunteer be vaccinated, unless they have a medical reason not to.  We set this standard for the safety of all.

With that said, we are confident that we will be able safely to gather, to swim, and to celebrate.  And we will be nimble, flexible, and fierce to adjust the logistics of each swim as may be required by any lingering wiffs of COVID-19.  

100 swimmers have already signed on for Kingdom Swim, on July 24th, including 50 swimmers in the U.S. Masters Swimming Ultra Marathon (10 mile) Distance Open Water National Championship and 22 swimmers in the 25 km Border Buster.  Another 30 swimmers or so have already signed up for one or more swims during NEK Swim Week – that includes swims in 8 lakes in 9 days – we are about half full. 

25 are already ‘rostered up’ for our Saturday Clubhous Swim Series in which we swim anywhere between 2 to 10 miles out and around the islands of Derby Bay. 

9 Swimmer Scouts are ready to take on In Search of Memphre are tight on the leash waiting for the Border to open (which it will).

All in all about 200 swimmers are already all in for one or more swims this summer, with room for a couple hundred more.  They come from 27 different states, Washington D.C., 3 Canadian provinces, Australia and France. 

Border Buster Start List (see full list here):
1. Justine Brousseau (41)
2. Puranjot Khalsa (40 )
3. Nadine Bennett (47)
4. Erin Oleary (39)
5. Brian Jaskot (41)
6. Sue-Ellen Booher (66)
7. Charlotte Brynn (55)
8. Vera Rivard (16)
9. Paula Yankauskas (64)
10. Greg O’Connor (51)
11. Michael Pollanen (51)
12. Ryan Buechner (37)
13. Shannon Keegan (45)
14. Stephen Rouch (40)
15. Alyssa Langlais (44)
16. James Penrose (68)
17. Natalie Lang (43)
18. Daniela Klaz (29)
19. Kristine Trutor (32)
20. Amanda Smith Dakowicz (35)
21. Jennifer Snyder (41)
22. Joanne Colvin (58)

To register for any of the 2021 races, visit here.

Speaking of yackers (escort kayakers), White reminds all swimmers, “We require yackers to escort swimmers in just about every swim we offer. Most swimmers bring their own – which we strongly encourage. But, for swimmers who can’t, we offer to recruit and find volunteer kayakers. We already have identified a need for a dozen or more yackers in 2021. We offer stipends ranging from US$50 to US$250 depending on the distance of the swim you are supporting.

If you want to join us as a yacker, please sign up, let us know the dates you are available and the distances you are willing to cover. We will then match you with a swimmer in need.”

Yacker registration is here.

White has long been a pioneer in the sport. His nomination for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year described him as follows: “Race directors have to be committed, caring and creative. Phil White is the epitome of the much-appreciated organizer who has breathed a renewed sense of community, adventure and challenge into the idyllic Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Dotted with innumerable lakes of rare beauty, White envisioned all kinds of courses and competitions where none existed before. He not only has attracted athletes and volunteers from 36 American states and 8 countries to his green corner of the world, but he has also kindled a wide spectrum of support from corporate to governmental entities. For his launch and execution of the wide-reaching Kingdom Games that includes 40 days of competition including everything from ice swimming to marathon swimming, for inspiring people from all walks of life, ages, and abilities to participate in races both short and long on a year-round basis, for his enthusiastically contagious encouragement of daring people to dream, Phil White is a worthy nominee for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.”

Copyright 2008 – 2021 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Steven Munatones