Monday, July 27, 2015

Kingdom Swim

The 2015 Kingdom Swim is in the books, and what a fun swim weekend it was! The event took place at Lake Memphremagog (say that three times!) in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. It truly was a stunning setting for a race. The event offers several distances - 15 miles (across the border to Canada), 10 miles, 6 miles, 3 miles, and 1 mile. A distance for everyone. The race director, Phil White, was an incredible host and thought of everything, from pre-race details, to a tour of the lake on a ferry, to all of the logistics around race courses and kayakers. If you are looking for a destination swim, I highly recommend that you visit Newport, VT next year.

The events started on Friday with a cruise of the lake to scout out the courses. I planned to do the 3 mile course, so it was pretty easy to determine where the buoys were and where we needed to go. The longer courses were more difficult, hence the need for a kayak escort. Even on the boat we got turned around, and although we were dry, high enough up to see all the buoys, and had a little map in hand, we got confused.

On Saturday morning the fog was dense. So dense that the 15 mile "border busters" had to wait around for several hours until it was safe enough to launch, so many of them started with a nutrition deficit. We went off late, but only by 90 minutes, and by the time the other races started it was sunny, clear, and near perfect swim conditions (see photo on right!). I was set up with a local kayaker named Rick, and he was awesome. Part of the fun of the race was trying to find your kayaker. As I rounded the first buoy I looked up to see 30 kayaks and had a hard time picking out Rick. I eventually found him and we settled into a nice rhythm. Prior to starting the race I didn't really think I needed a kayak for 3 miles. I realized quickly that I needed a kayak, as I would have been swimming the 6 mile course if  Rick was not there there. I swam 3 miles (which was like a sprint when others are swimming 6, 10 and 15!) so we were done early and got to hang out on the beach and watch all the other racers come in. I was happy with my swim and plan to return next year to try the 6 mile event.

New England Masters had a huge group participating in all four of the big races, so it was fun to track people. What a great group of people to hang around with - supportive, positive, fun. This is one swim to add to your list of destination swims!
Rick my trusty yakker!
kayakers deploying

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