open water

Event Spotlight: Peaks to Portland Swim to Benefit Kids

Contributed by Charlotte Brynn, NE LMSC Open Water Sanctions Chair

Event: Peaks to Portland Swim to Benefit Kids

Date: July 28, 2018

Distance 2.4 miles

Location: Casco Bay, Maine

Maine is right up there on my list of favorite places to swim. It has a lot to do with the vastness of the ocean, the variety of rugged coastline and sandy beaches, and the vibrant, friendly open water swimming community. Traveling to an open water swim event is a great way to experience another area, meet new people and discover new places to swim.

I was impressed to learn that the long running Peaks to Portland swim had a swimmer who has participated for 30 years! I wanted to learn more about the draw of this long running event and what keeps people coming back. Sarah Leighton, from the YMCA of Southern Maine, filled me in on all the things that make this swim so special and a must for your open water calendar!

Charlotte Brynn: Peaks to Portland is a 2.4 mile swim that has a wealth of history dating back to before WWII. Tell us about some of the early swims.

Sarah Leighton: Peaks to Portland started in the 1920s. At that time, there were no wetsuits so swimmers would grease their bodies in an effort to keep warm. Back then, the fastest swimmers finished the swim in one hour and fifteen minutes. Today swimmers finish in as little as 40 minutes. The swim was suspended at the start of World War II due to the fear of mines in the water. It wasn’t until 1981 that it was revived by the YMCA of Southern Maine, and we’ve hosted the event ever since.

CB: The Maine coastline is famous for its rugged good looks, and Maine swimmers are some of the most welcoming swimmers I’ve encountered around the world. What are some of the highlights of the swim that help make it an OW event not to miss? 

SL: There’s no better way to experience Maine than the Peaks to Portland Swim.  Swimmers take the Casco Bay Ferry in the early morning to picturesque Peaks Island where they begin their journey. Together with 500 other swimmers, they swim with the tide across Casco Bay. They pass the historic Fort Gorges, built in the 1850s. And at East End Beach, thousands of cheering spectators and volunteers welcome them across the finish line.

CB: You provide terrific support to swimmers before, during and after the swim, from training support, to what to bring and wear to park. What tips can you share for a swimmer new to Peaks to Portland?

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SL: When it’s cold, swimmers are forced to train in a pool, but it’s important that they transition their training to the ocean at least a couple weeks prior to the event. This helps swimmers acclimate to the cold water and reduces their chance of developing hypothermia on race day. Veteran swimmers also encourage new participants to practice in their wetsuits and with their kayaker (even if it’s in fresh water). That way, you’re used to the extra buoyancy provided by your suit and you and your kayaker have a chance to develop a good communication system. If you’re looking for additional support, consider signing up for one of the YMCA of Southern Maine’s Peaks to Portland training classes!

CB: Finally, please tell us about some of the inspirational swimmers that swim Peaks to Portland. 

SL: The Peaks to Portland Swim attracts a diverse group of swimmers. Last year, our oldest swimmer was 74 years old, and our youngest was 16. We welcome swimmers of all types as long as they’re able to swim one mile in 40 minutes or less. Last year, swimmer Merry Farnum completed her 30th Peaks to Portland Swim!  In fact, she completed all 30 swims without a wet suit – now that’s tough! As an advocate for the YMCA of Southern Maine, she also raised over $3,000 to benefit youth. Fundraising is an important part of this race – last year we raised over $180,000 all of which went to supporting kids in our youth development programs.

CB: Thanks Sarah, all the best another successful event this year!

Tenth Charles River One Mile Swim (Sanctioned)

Contributed by Kate Radville, CRSC

BOSTON, MA -- The Tenth Charles River One Mile Swim will take place on June 2, 2018. The USMS sanctioned swim will feature chip timing, fabulous t-shirts, fun prizes, gorgeous scenery and a convenient location in the heart of downtown Boston. Wetsuits are optional, making this the ideal early season tune-up for your open water swimming.  Please visit our website for registration information or email us with questions. Join us to either swim or volunteer and help us make our tenth swim our best swim yet!

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NE LMSC Presents 2018 Service Awards at Championship Meet

Contributed by Tara Mack, GBM & Awards & Recognition Chair

BOSTON, MA -- The New England LMSC proudly presented several awards to outstanding members during the 2018 NE LMSC SCY Championship Meet.


Coach of the Year:  Dan Rogacki

 Dan Rogacki with NE LMSC Chair Douglas Sayles

Dan Rogacki with NE LMSC Chair Douglas Sayles

Welcoming, Enthusiastic, Big Heart, Record Keeper, Funny, Remarkable

Dan’s team all commented on his record keeping as well as making each of them a handmade birthday card, and they shared how Dan has built a loving, supportive team that feels more like a family of which they are all grateful to be a part. 

 

 


Distinguished Service Award:  Rick Osterberg

Outstanding Service to Masters Swimming & NE LMSC SCY Championship Meet Director

Rick has been the SCY Championship Meet Director for over 15 years and has repeatedly demonstrated outstanding service to Masters Swimming on many levels and is consistently promotes Masters Swimming at the Club, NE LMSC, and National levels.

Nominators and supporters repeatedly discussed Rick as demonstrating excellence with respect to his role as the NE LMSC SCY Championship Meet Director in addition to the following: best meet director, supportive, encouraging, thoughtful, quality, dedicated, caring, supportive, running the best meet, great music, great announcer, above and beyond, kind, friendly, fun! 


Appreciation Award: David Graham

 David Graham with NE LMSC Chair Douglas Sayles

David Graham with NE LMSC Chair Douglas Sayles

Encouragement, Support, Volunteerism, Humor, and an All-Inclusive Spirit

David’s supporters all recognized the tireless efforts he engages in to promote all kinds of swimming events, from pool to open water. He was thanked for a variety of reasons, including for being a personal kayaker in the Kingdom swim, and received accolades for his outreach in all avenues of swimming. A true supporter of the sport!

 


Appreciation Award: Joel Feldmann

Enthusiasm, Encouragement, Kindness, Love of the Sport and Others

Joel’s nominators mentioned repeatedly that Joel not only encourages everyone on the team, she calls them if they miss a practice to see if they are okay. She is nurturing and strong, and that has proven to be quite an amazing combination.


Lifetime Appreciation Award:  Priscilla Davis

 A few of our officials at the SCY Championship meet

A few of our officials at the SCY Championship meet

Over 40 years of Service, Laughter, Encouragement, Kindness, and Commitment

Priscilla Davis's team of 13 active officials does a masterful job of tirelessly running our Masters swim meets throughout the year. Each championship meet (WPI and Harvard), they spend 20-25 hours on their feet officiating. They also officiate at all our mini meets throughout the year. Not only that, they are professional, good humored and obviously love what they do. New England is blessed to have such an experienced and friendly group of officials running our meets.


APPRECIATION AWARD 2018: NE LMSC OFFICIALS

The following officials were also recognized for their outstanding and tireless commitment to provide us all with the best meet experiences while maintaining the professionalism of the sport:

Priscilla Davis

Mary Anne Lustgraaf

Bob Fredette

Jack Kurkul

Ed GardnerBob Menck

Ken Galica

Lisa Black Shouldko

Betsy Russell

Sue Hoey

Cam Townsend

Steve Davidson

Steve McAlarney


Frank Wuest Open Water Swimming Award: Maura Twomey and Paul Goudreau

 Paul Goudreau and Lyn Duncan

Paul Goudreau and Lyn Duncan

 Lyn Dyncan and Maura Twomey

Lyn Dyncan and Maura Twomey

Frank Wuest invited us to live our best lives. He invited us to embrace the sport of swimming as a vehicle to get involved, to participate, to shine, and to be a part of an incredibly special community as well as to stay fit and active in the pursuit of the negative split! Frank’s passion for the sport was contagious. He was a fast swimmer and he was a committed cheerleader for us all as a collective as well as for all of us individually. With a glint in his eye, and a pace clock in his head, he encouraged us all to go for it! Frank truly represented all that the word community stands for and he did it with grace, ease, humor, love, camaraderie, and at times a little cajoling.

In conjunction with his wife Lyn Duncan, and on behalf of the NELMSC, as the Awards and Recognition Chair, I am honored to announce the 2018 recipients of the Frank Wuest Open Water Swimming Awards: Maura Twomey and Paul Goudreau

Thank you, Frank for continuing to remind us what the most important thing is and always will be: Each other.

12th Annual Swim & Fin Race for Salem Sound Goes Swimmingly

Contributed by Megan Podeszwa, Salem Sound Coastwatch

SALEM, MA -- The 12th Annual Swim & Fin Race for Salem Sound went off without a hitch on August 20. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful morning to send nearly 150 swimmers into the clean, swimmable waters of Salem Sound!

Swimmers ranged in age from 11-74 and competed 500 meter, 1 mile and 5K races. We had so much great talent join us and swimmers of all abilities. It was a great race to watch!

On land, spectators had great views of the course as well as a DJ, raffle, kids coloring table, and touch tank! Swimmers received their choice of clam chowder or meatballs after the race and others had the option to purchase food. There was also plenty of coffee and baked goods to go around!

The energy of the crowd was great as swimmers went in and came out of the water. Swimmers received ocean-themed awards by age group as well as wetsuit and non-wetsuits. First place was a scallop shell, second was a surf clam shell, and third was a quahog shell. The fastest male and female in each race received large scallop shells. 

Robert Kysela (Portland, ME) of Maine Masters (MESC) won the men's 5k race, followed by Christopher Borgatti (Byfield, MA, Unattached) and Chris Waldman (Portland, ME). Emily Dobrindt (Milton, MA) was the women's 5k champion with Rachel Saks Aronis (Natick, MA) taking second and Tsveta Stanilova (Portland, ME, MESC) finishing third. At the 1-mile distance, Benjamin Czech (Providence, RI), Joe Wang (Framingham, MA), and Richy Puopolo (East Boston, MA) were the top three men. Lyndsay Martin (New York, NY), Kaelyn Patch (Brentwood, NH), and Fiona Price (Northborough, MA) took podium spots in the women's race.

A great day was had by all and for a great cause. It was amazing to see so many people caring about our local environment and what better way to show how much you care about clean water.  Thank you to everyone who came out to support Salem Sound Coastwatch!

39th Annual Celebrate the Clean Harbor Swim Draws Swimmers from Near and Far

Contributed by Guy Davis, GBM, NE LMSC Vice-Chair

NE LMSC Treasurer and ANA swimmer Al Prescott

Charles River Masters swimmers David Bentley and Andrea Sonan

GLOUCESTER, MA -- Now in its 39th year, the New England Open Water Swimming Association's ever popular Celebrate the Clean Harbor Swim was held on August 19th. The swim follows a 1.2 mile rectangular course out and back from Niles Beach, a sheltered cove on the north side of Gloucester Harbor. The event now includes a 500m youth swim, an introduction for 8-12 year old swimmers to the fun and challenge of open water racing. Although more overcast than the usual perfect summer sunshine that this event typically enjoys, the conditions were perfect for racing with comfortable water temperatures and very little breeze or chop. North Shore and Boston area swimmers dominated the nearly 90 entries, including longtime former race director Richie Martin in the largest and most competitive division of Men 60-69 years. There were also participants from all over New England and from as far afield as Illinois. 

This year's non-wetsuit overall winners were Kaitlin Pratt (Wakefield, MA) and Graham Lott (Gloucester, MA). Wetsuit overall winners were Hannah Perkins (Beverly, MA) and, for the third consecutive year, Ethan Saulnier (Salem, MA). Kaitlin and Hannah are both 13 years old, and Hannah is a former winner of the youth swim. Overall winners received Megalodon teeth and division winners received shark teeth as prizes. Many thanks to race director Dave Swensen and his team, volunteers, and sponsors for the professional management, a relaxed and family-friendly atmosphere, competitive racing and the coolest prizes.

Maine Swimmers Dominate at Nubble Light Challenge Revival

Contributed by Guy Davis, GBM & NE LMSC Vice-Chair

YORK, ME -- Southern Maine's popular Nubble Light Challenge open water race made its triumphant return on August 12 after a three year hiatus. The picturesque two and a half mile course takes swimmers from York's Long Sands beach around the rocky Cape Neddick headland, through “the Gut” - the narrow passage of water that separates Nubble Island from the mainland, and on to finish at Short Sands beach. Weather conditions were very favorable, with water temperatures in the low 60s, light winds, and a moderate swell. Nevertheless, the swim's long stretches of open ocean and unpredictable tidal currents around the headland most certainly warrant the race's moniker. The warmly cheering crowds on the rocks overlooking the Gut and at the finish provided great encouragement to the swimmers.

Maine Masters swimmers dominated this year's event with wetsuit winners Cheryl Daly and Justin Burkhardt and non-wetsuit winners Susan Knight and Simon Wignall. Congratulations to all who swam and completed the Nubble Light Challenge!

The race is a fundraiser for the great work of the Maine chapter of NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) whose programs enhance the lives of any one impacted by mental illness through support, education and advocacy.

Great Bay Masters swimmers at the Nubble Light Challenge

Big thank yous go to Bob Reed, Bob Fernald, and Jen Zorn for their great work reviving and organizing this terrific event and to the many wonderful volunteers and sponsors who contributed to the fantastic atmosphere and very enjoyable event.

Race website

Fundraising page

Race Facebook page

NAMI Maine website

Photos by Tracy Phillips Photography via Nubble Light Challenge Facebook page

MAMA Swimmers Lead the Way at the Mighty Merrimack Swim

Contributed by Al Prescott (MAMA), NE LMSC Treasurer

LOWELL, MA -- The Minuteman Masters turned out in force to support the Mighty Merrimack 1- and 2-mile Swim on August 6. Next year's race is scheduled for August 5, 2018.

Pictured left to right are:

"Big" Al Prescott, 1st overall non-wetsuit, 1 mile
Mark Devlin, 1st overall non-wetsuit, 2 mile
Kathy McGovern, 1st overall female, 2 mile
Denise Veenstra, 1st place age group, 2 mile
Maria Beconi, 1st place age group, 2 mile

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Miles 4 Michelle Raises Over $3000

Contributed by Alyssa Farnsworth, Event Director

LANCASTER, MA -- The 4th Annual Miles 4 Michelle, hosted by Worcester Area Masters, was held at Fort Pond on July 22nd. We had a great turnout this year! Over 60 swimmers participated, supported by many volunteers, family, and friends. We asked that everyone bring a little breakfast item, so we had plenty of food and drinks for after.

Every year, Cathrine Thibault and her amazing staff from Compassion Massage Therapeutic Clinic in Leominster, MA are there to give the swimmers post-race massages. We also had many awesome raffle prizes, including a one hour massage from Compassion Massage and gift certificates from the Claw Shop in Leominster, Sneakerama in Worcester, and Slate Bar and Grill in Leominster, to name just a few!

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It was just an amazing day to bring everyone together -- those that knew Michelle and those that just know her story. I look forward to this event every year because I know Michelle is not forgotten and never will be. We were able to raise over $3,000 to go towards the Michelle Farnsworth Scholarship Fund. We hope to continue this event for years to come! Please keep an eye out for next year's date. 

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Swim With A Mission A Huge Success

Contributed by Stacy Sweetser, Sweetwater Swim Studio

BRISTOL, NH -- The inaugural Swim With A Mission (SWAM) took place Friday, July 14, 2017 in Newfound Lake at Wellington State Park. The 5K, 10K and 10-Mile Relay events fundraised for the Navy SEAL Museum, Veteran’s Count, and Bridge House Homeless Shelter and Veteran’s Advocacy organization. The event was well attended with over 100 swimmers, dozens of volunteers on land and water, and spectators galore.

Navy Seals lined the beach as twenty-eight 5K swimmers took to the crystal clear water of Newfound Lake at 7:00am. Ten minutes later, nineteen 10K swimmers followed. The sixteen relay teams (2-5 swimmers) had a staggered start at 7:20am for their 10-mile swimming journey around the lake.

Crowds of spectators filled the State Park for a post swim festival. Spectators were able to get up close and personal for the beach swim finish and watch various Navy SEAL demonstrations in air, on water, and on land with their K-9 squad. Veteran George Brunstad, a B-52 bomber pilot and renowned open water swimmer, attended as a special guest.

 

RESULTS

5K

Female

Taylor Hough, age 14 of Laconia, NH, took the women's title with a time of 1:24:57. Aubrey Patrick, age 15 of Bedford, NH finished 2nd and Sarah Barrett, age 22 of Goffstown, NH finished 3rd.

Male

Edmund Gendreau (GBM), age 55 of Rye NH, won with a time of 1:14:58. He received a special award for fastest 5K in honor of SCPO Daniel R. Healy, Navy SEAL. Bruce Mohl, age 71 of Bonita Springs, FL finished 2nd and Jeff Stuart, age 56 of Manchester, CT finished 3rd.

10K

Female

Vera Rivard, age 13 of Springfield, NH with a time of 2:42:32. Jana Slezak, age 52 of Rye, NH finished 2nd and Nelle Killourie, age 44 of North Conway, NH finished 3rd.

 

Male

Connor Robinson, age 19 of Wallingford, CT, placed first with a time of 2:08:36. He received a special award in honor of Jeremiah Fitzgibbon, world-class swimmer/triathlete, for fastest 10K. Geoffrey Michaud, age 52 of Manchester, CT finished 2nd and Maury Mckinney, age 56 of North Conway, NH finished 3rd.

10 Mile Relay

The winning relay team, Team SweetWater Swim Studio

Team SweetWater Swim Studio (SWS/GSP), which consisted of Stacy Sweetser, Randy Clark, Karin Biskovich, Johanna Lawrence, and Rebecca Hecox, took the team title with a time of 4:01:38. Team Connection placed 2nd and Team Tools placed 3rd.

SWAM website

 SWAM Facebook

Union Leader Article

Event Spotlight: 12th Annual Swim & Fin Race for Salem Sound

Contributed by Charlotte Brynn, NELMSC Open Water Chair, USMS National Open Water Committee, Level 4 USMS Coach, and Executive Director of The Swimming Hole

Enjoy clam chowder, clam shell awards, and a dazzling view of the water. -Megan Podeszwa

This month we are spotlighting an open water event: The 12th Annual Swim & Fin for Salem Sound, which will be held on August 20 in Salem, MA. I was impressed by its family-friendly appeal, and that it benefits efforts to make our coastal waters clean and safe. I reached out to Megan Podeszwa, Race Director, and Susan Yochelson, Salem Sound Coastwatch Outreach Coordinator, to learn about the swim's history, and what makes it a stand-out event. After hearing their answers, I've definitely added it to my list to swim in the future!

Two of last year's Swim & Fin winners

Q: The 12th Annual Swim & Fin includes a 500 meter course, 1 mile and a 5 km option. What are some of the reasons that this is such a good event for novices to try their first open water event?

A: The Swim & Fin is a well-established event with an excellent safety record. The 500-meter has been called the "get wet, fun swim." It's a short course--less than one third of a mile, equivalent to five laps in an Olympic pool. We have considerable safety support with lifeguards and kayakers keeping a close eye on the swimmers. The harbormaster is right there if anyone needs to be rescued. 

Q: It looks like you have fun activities set up at the beach. What are some of the fun things swimmers and their families can enjoy on race day?

A: The Swim & Fin is held in a beautiful wooded park with dazzling views of the water. It's a perfect spot for a family picnic. There's a playground for young kids, two beaches and a steep old-fashioned concrete slide that has been thrilling children and adults since 1943. (It's the only one in New England and cardboard is a must for this slide!) We have food, music, a marine touch tank with local sea creatures, raffles and some activities for kids. Swimmers will have access to a changing room and outdoor shower, and will be treated to fresh clam chowder donated by Finz--a fabulous local seafood restaurant. The awards are uniquely ocean-themed-- no regular medals for us! With its rich history and cultural attractions, Salem is a great place to visit. There are shops, museums, including the world-class Peabody Essex Museum, the National Park Service's Salem Maritime Historic Site, wonderful restaurants, and more for every age group.

Q: How did the Swim & Fin get established 12 years ago?

A: The Swim & Fin was started by a neurosurgeon. Seriously. Twelve years ago, Dr. Michael Medlock walked into the Salem Sound Coastwatch offices with the proposition that we should hold open water swimming races. Dr. Medlock grew up swimming in Florida and in New England he loves Salem Sound with its beautiful coast, beaches, vibrant marine life, and charming islands that frame the view. He thought it would be a great way to highlight our clean swimmable water and connect people to the Sound. We liked the idea, especially since encouraging recreational use of these coastal waters is one of our core values. Dr. Medlock created the event and continued as Race Director for 10 years. In the beginning, swim fins were allowed, hence the name. That feature has since been dropped and now the name stands more for swimming with the fishes.

Q: Volunteers make our swim events special. Who are some of the people that help put on the race?

A: Volunteers are the life-blood of Salem Sound Coastwatch's activities, including the Swim & Fin. We have professional lifeguards who donate their time, experienced kayakers who patrol the course, medical professionals who provide first aid, and people of all walks of life who direct the cars, put out signs, handle registration and body marking, and coordinate swimmer safety. We also have many sponsors and donors. Finz, a famous local seafood restaurant, donates clam chowder for the swimmers; a local shellfish company donates clam and scallop shells that we paint gold, silver and bronze for medals, and many local companies support this event. The thing they all share in common is a love of our coastal waters.

Q: This race is for a great cause! The swim benefits the Salem Sound Coastwatch, working to make our coastal waters clean and safe. Cleaner coastal waters is a cause especially close to open water swimmers' hearts. Can you tell us a little about what Salem Coastwatch does?

A: We do so many things! Salem Sound Coastwatch is a nonprofit environmental organization. Our motto is "leading the way to a healthier sea and shore." Our flagship program is called Clean Beaches and Streams, where we test water at outfall pipes and streams that flow on to the beaches in order to identify pollution "hot spots." This information is shared with the local communities in our watershed and with the State of Massachusetts. Our work has actually uncovered homes and businesses that were not connected to the sanitary sewer system. Waste from these buildings was flowing directly into the Sound! 

Our work generally falls into three categories-identifying sources of pollution and developing solutions, monitoring and protecting marine resources and habitats, and educating the public. We have a large and active Adopt a Beach program in which volunteers are trained to monitor and clean up their favorite beach. "School to Sea" is our exciting ocean literacy program in which we work with both students and teachers to develop an understanding of, and appreciation for, the ocean in their backyard. This past year we took hundreds of students, including every 3rd and 7th grader in the City of Salem, on educational boat trips where they got to observe sea life with an underwater camera, conduct a plankton tow and hold lobsters and other marine life pulled from a lobster pot. We partner with local communities, academic researchers, other nonprofit organizations, businesses and citizens to address issues such as flooding (a serious source of pollution), building resilience to protect the coast from storms and sea level rise, monitoring invasive marine species, and raising citizens' awareness and understanding of their connection to the water and their role in restoring and protecting its health. Salem Sound Coastwatch is widely recognized throughout the region for the quality of our work, and we have received numerous awards since the organization was formed over 25 years ago.

Find out more or register for the Swim & Fin event here: https://www.swimandfin.org/