68-year-old swimmer sets record on Lake Memphremagog

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — A 68-year-old mother of two and grandmother of three swam the 25-mile length of Lake Memphremagog between Newport, Vermont, and Magog, Quebec in 24 hours and 8 minutes.

In doing so, Pat Gallant-Charette, of Westbrook, Maine, became the oldest person to swim the length of Lake Memphremagog in compliance with the general standards for channel crossing and open water marathon swimming.

She set off from the EastSide Restaurant in Newport at 10:11 p.m. on July 31, and cleared the water in Magog at 10:19 p.m. on August 1, 2019. 

She also set the record for the longest time to complete a swim the length of the lake. 

As she stepped ashore in Magog, she became the fourth person to complete the Triple Crown of Lake Monster Swims, swimming the length of Loch Ness on August 19, 2018, and the length of Lake Tahoe on August 8, 2018, both when she was 67-years-old. 

Gallant-Charette already had an extraordinary record of accomplishment, including swimming the English Channel twice, the Catalina Channel, as well as Tsugaro Strait, North Channel, Kaiwi Channel, all completed after she turned 60 years old.

She earned her induction into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Swimmer earlier this year.

During this swim, she was escorted by Phil White, Director of Kingdom Games, piloting a pontoon boat named Lucky, and her sister-in-law, Jean Murdoch-Gallant, who has crewed for most of her storied swims.

The swim is part of a series of expeditions and solo swims the length of Lake Memphremagog known as “In Search of Memphre,” organized and hosted by Kingdom Games.

Water temperatures were 74 F the length of the lake. The air temperature was in the high 50s at night and rose to the mid-70s during the day. Winds were 2 to 5 mph from the south during the first few hours of the swim. 

As the sun rose, the winds shifted and varied from light to up to about 10 mph.

At about 2/3 of the way into the swim, she experienced an injury to her lat which prevented her from lifting her right arm out of the water. 

She tried backstroke and breaststroke to loosen herself up, but she could not resume a full crawl and she had slowed down considerably. 

Making matters worse, Gallant-Charette encountered the pull of the River Magog at the northeast end of the lake during the last mile.

After her swim, she called the swim “a beast,” and “one of the five toughest swims” she has completed.

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