Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival draws international crowd

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors by

NEWPORT — Winter swimmers gathered in Newport for a weekend of swimming in a 25-meter, two-lane pool cut in the ice of Lake Memphremagog.

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They swam in a Hat Competition, 25 Meter freestyle, breaststroke, and butterfly, as well as the 50, 100, and 200-meter freestyle.

The ice was two feet thick, with water temperatures 30.8 F. Air temps were in the 30’s on Saturday and in the 20’s on Sunday. Many were new to the sport and had been training and acclimating to cold water swimming for months.

Conor Turner of Dublin, Ireland, set records in the 100-meter and 200-meter freestyle.

Craig Ross, of Guelph, Ontario, set pool records in the 25 freestyle, 25 butterfly, and 50-meter freestyle.

Perennial speedsters, Daina Bouquin, of Melrose, Mass, and Martha Woos, of Manchester, Mass, set records in the 25-meter butterfly and the 200-meter freestyle respectively.

Winners received Beef Jerky from Brault’s Market and maple syrup from Couture’s Maple Shop and B & B.

Winning the highly contested Best Hat Competition was Edwin Greenfield of Richmond Hil, Ontario, and, new this year, best team Hats, the New Mexico Dream Team, led by Erin Churchill, including, Amber Zimmerman, Terry Casey, and RuthAnn Goradia, all from Albuquerque.

The “most mature” winter swimmer was Ginny Peck, 72, from North Woodstock, NH.

The youngest winter swimmer was Vera Rivard, 14, of Springfield, NH.