The 10-Mile Race at Kingdom Swim

The 10-Mile Race at Kingdom Swim

Courtesy of Phil White, Lake Memphremagog, Vermont.

Phil White describes the Kingdom Swim that started in 2009, “With the exception of last year with the pandemic lockdown, our 10-mile Race has been run each year since then on Lake Memphremagog in Newport, Vermont. The 2021 edition will be held on July 24th. It is a long course open water race, not ten one-mile loops.  The buoys are only those essential to mark the turns.  There are no guide buoys.  There are long -2 and 3-mile stretches of wide open water. It is a true 10-mile distance each year, within 1/10th of a mile either way.  The water temperature runs generally between 19.4°C (67°C) and 23.3°C (74°F).  Wind and weather vary from year to year and can change two or three times during the course of the race itself.  Subtle lake currents and sometime strong winds can pull and push even the most experienced swimmers and kayakers off course.

Course map prepared by Christopher Graefe

The course was initially set by Ned Denison of Ireland, Leslie Thomas of San Francisco, Phil White of Derby, and several other local swimmers, Kingsley Boyd, Peter Stuart, and Bob Primeau.  The course draws swimmers north out of Newport Bay, up the west side of Lake Memphremagog, across a large expanse of water, around Black, Cove, and Bell Islands and then south three miles, in the most exposed section of the race, then around The Bluffs and back to Prouty Beach with hot chocolate waiting on the beach. and the smell of burgers on the grill, steamed corn, and beer on ice.

In 2009, Rondi Davies set the inaugural record in 4 hours 4 minutes 49 seconds. The next year, Rondi returned and dropped her time to 3:56:49.  That overall record stood until 2013, when Ethan Saulnier finished in 3:52:11.  The current course record was set in 2015 when Chris Deegan of Australia finished in a blistering time of 3:19:41.  His training partner, Eva Fabian came in just 10 seconds behind, setting the current woman’s course record at 3:19:51.

The winners of the 10 mile race who comply with traditional channel crossing rules, receive the coveted Walking Stick, hand carved by local obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. William Peck.

Over the past decade, it has become the Flagship Swim of NEKOWSA, leading 25 days of open water swimming in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont during the course of a summer.

For more information on the Kingdom Games, visit

Copyright 2008 – 2021 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Steven Munatones