1 mile

New England hosts USMS Open Water National Championships at Lake Willoughby

Contributed by Alana Aubin, NELMSC Communications Chair, and Laurie Hug

Wave 2 of the Sprint-Distance Open Water National Championship begins. (Photo by Rick Osterberg)

Wave 2 of the Sprint-Distance Open Water National Championship begins. (Photo by Rick Osterberg)

WESTMORE, VT – More than 100 USMS swimmers gathered at Lake Willoughby, Vermont August 16-17 for the 2019 USMS Open Water National Championships. The event was hosted by the Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association (NEKOWSA), as part of its Swim the Kingdom Week, with support from the New England LMSC (NELMSC). 

On Friday, 93 swimmers took to the water for the Sprint-Distance National Championship, a 1-mile buoy course off the lake’s North Beach. The water was around 70F and a southerly wind caused 1-2 foot waves. The race was run in three waves of 30-32 swimmers each. The top six in each age group took home a custom “woodal” and National Champions also garnered a jug of Vermont maple syrup.

Ildiko Szekely, Jessica Stokes, Jennifer Downing, & Alana Aubin before the 1-mile race. (Photo by Rick Osterberg)

Ildiko Szekely, Jessica Stokes, Jennifer Downing, & Alana Aubin before the 1-mile race. (Photo by Rick Osterberg)

In wave one, Kim Elsbach posted the fastest time (23:24) to earn the national title in the women’s 55-59 age group with nearly a minute lead over the 60-64 champion, Karen Einsidler. New Englanders Tracy Grilli, Ann Swift, and Margaret Haskins filled out the next three 60-64 spots, while Martha Wood was the 55-59 runner up. Joel Feldmann (65-69) and Cynthia Needham (70-74) both took third in their age groups.

In the all-male second wave, Stuart Cromarty emerged from the lake first in 21:08 to take home the national title in the men’s 55-59 age category with Rob Allen not far behind to earn the 50-54 title. Guy Davis took first in 60-64 while Douglas Sayles (50-54) and Tom Phillips (45-49) grabbed second in their age groups.

In wave three, Ildiko Szekely produced the overall fastest time of the day in 21:05 after a tight race with Mackenzie Leake, who became the 25-29 champion. Szekely won the women’s 40-44 age group, followed by Jessica Stokes and Jennifer Downing. Alana Aubin (25-59), Kimberly Fry (35-39), and Karyn Scherer (45-49) each picked up second place in their age groups.

The start of Saturday’s Lake Willoughby crossing. (Photo by Rick Osterberg)

The start of Saturday’s Lake Willoughby crossing. (Photo by Rick Osterberg)

On Saturday, 82 athletes completed a 5-mile Lake Willoughby crossing, swimming South to North for this year’s Long-Distance Open Water National Championship. Conditions were similar to Friday, with water 68-70 degrees and a tailwind from the south pushing swimmers along and creating waves up to a foot. Upon finishing on the sandy North Beach, swimmers and their escort kayakers were treated to a pig roast. Winners took home beef jerky and more custom woodals.

Eric Nilsson took the overall win and men’s 30-34 title in an astounding 1:36:21 while Mackenzie Leake picked up her second national title of the weekend by winning the women’s event (and the 25-29 age group) in 1:45:57.

Swimmers and kayakers make their way across Lake Willoughby. (Photo by Rick Osterberg)

Swimmers and kayakers make their way across Lake Willoughby. (Photo by Rick Osterberg)

New England athletes dominated the women’s 40-44 division with Jessica Stokes, Jennifer Downing, and Laurie Craigen sweeping the podium. Jennifer Olsen and Merin Troutman were the top two finishers in the women’s 45-49 group. Jessica Moore and Janelle Guyot were second and third in the 35-39 group while Tracy Grilli led Nancy Johnston, Margaret Haskins, and Joanna Florio-Jeffereys in positions 2-5 of the 60-64 division. Cynthia Needham (70-74) and Alana Aubin (25-29) each finished second while Martha Wood (55-59) was third.

On the men’s side, Mike Broglio and Christopher Graefe went 1-2 in the 45-49 age group while Douglas Sayles (50-54), Phil Schoepke (55-59), and Guy Davis (60-64) each won their age groups. 

Both days, several lucky participants won an extra prize—a custom-embroidered TYR Alliance backpack, FINIS duo underwater MP3 player, or USMS apparel—provided by the NELMSC via bib number lottery. Athletes in both races admired the beauty of Lake Willoughby and competed in the spirit of the Northeast Kingdom: No lanes, no lines, no limits.

NEKOWSA will host next year’s USMS Ultramarathon-Distance Open Water National Championship at Lake Memphremagog on July 25, 2020.

Swimmers just before starting their Lake Willoughby crossing. (Photo by Phil White)

Swimmers just before starting their Lake Willoughby crossing. (Photo by Phil White)

Glennie Rises at Second Annual Glen Lake Swim

Contributed by Gary Girolimon, Race Director


GOFFSTOWN, NH — The Glen Lake Swim, Episode 2: Glennie Rises, held on August 11th, attracted swimmers from throughout New England and beyond. The U.S. Masters Swimming-sanctioned competition featured a one-mile and a two-mile race. The weather could not have been more perfect, with 80 degree air temperatures and 74 degree waters.

The first of three swim waves heads out from the start.

The first of three swim waves heads out from the start.

Glennie, the friendly lake monster, is the mascot of the event. Glennie and similar lake monsters such as Champ of Lake Champlain, Memphre of Lake Memphremagog and Winni of Lake Winnipesaukee, are part of Native American folklore, so it was fitting that Chief Paul W. Pouliot of the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook Abenaki People made an offering to the aquatic life before the race start.

All swimmers took home a "Piece of the Beast," a Glennie tooth finisher medal. Many swimmers reported seeing Glennie on the waters, but the creature kept its distance and did not interfere with the race. There were abundant awards and raffles, separate scoring divisions for wetsuited and “skins” athletes, and a very unique Jurassic Park Glennie t-shirt for all participants.

After the swim a mini-expo was held at the site featuring local artists, salsa dancing and Glennie-themed kids' activities such as coloring and face painting. After the awards ceremony, the celebration moved to the Harpoon Brewery-sponsored party at Village Trestle in Goffstown.

The event is organized under the umbrella of the Granite State Health and Fitness Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit, and all profits from the event will be used to to promote aquatic safety, to enhance health and wellness, and to promote area recreational opportunities.


One Mile - Skins


  1. Aileen O'Connell 30:11

  2. Rachel Modlinsky 30:16

  3. Alexis Dwyer 31:58


  1. Parker Wheat 26:06

  2. Michael Giraldi 26:59

  3. Abhinav Sridhar 27:41

One Mile - Wetsuit


  1. Kelley O'hara 39:10

  2. Andrea Bonito 39:12

  3. Kristine Decourcey 39:13


  1. Patrick McDeed 27:12

  2. Matthew Stundtner 31:13

  3. Timothy Collard 32:36

Two Mile - Skins


  1. Katharine Radville 55:57

  2. Madison Guay 58:10

  3. Abby Brethauer 58:54


  1. Frans Lawaetz 58:00

  2. Sean Carter 58:38

  3. Gil Rosenberg 1:04:30

Two Mile - Wetsuit


  1. Jocelyn Nokes 55:14

  2. Molly Zahr 58:40

  3. Linda Watts 59:20


  1. Stuart Cromarty 49:04

  2. Nic Ohman 50:29

  3. Adam Langmaid 55:44

MBCC's Against The Tide Event is a Hidden Gem

HOPKINTON, MA — On June 15, I participated once again in the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition’s Against the Tide 1-mile open water swim at Hopkinton State Park.

I have to admit that as I write this article, I am bewildered by how few of my fellow masters swimmers opt to participate in this race. I always thought MBCC ran a good event. After helping them with some suggestions over the years, I now think they run a GREAT event. Here are just a few things that make this race worthwhile:

Al Prescott is recognized by MBCC for his efforts in helping the race director.

Al Prescott is recognized by MBCC for his efforts in helping the race director.

  • They offer a competitive 1-mile race, one loop around an island, that is the SAME distance every year.

  • They offer a completely separate non-competitive race for beginners and folks who just want to take it easy or try it out.

  • You get free access to the Hopkinton State Park and can stay all day.

  • They have free HOT breakfast for EVERYONE.

  • They offer events for the whole family including running races, a paddle board race, a kayak race, and more.

  • I got a free 15-minute massage after the race.

  • Your entry fee helps support research and prevention of a deadly disease.

If you are looking for a good early—but not too early—season event, come to Hopkinton next year and try to knock me out of the Top 10. Win or lose, I’ll meet you for a hot egg and cheese sandwich after the race.
— “Big” Al Prescott, NEM-MAMA, NELMSC Treasurer
Al Prescott, Jocelyn Noakes, and Frank Reinhold celebrate their efforts in the 1-mile swim

Al Prescott, Jocelyn Noakes, and Frank Reinhold celebrate their efforts in the 1-mile swim

Despite this, the race director has confided in me confusion. Years ago, it was normal to get 60 to 100 people in the swim race. Now the numbers are in the 30s. While I plan to do this race into the foreseeable future, that future looks murky. I'm not sure what more the race director can do to promote this race, and I have promised to help them brainstorm.

In the meantime, let me try this: I have won my age group and finished in the top 10 each time I have done this race. This year, I challenged one of my teammates to compete with me. She beat me and won her age group. So to the rest of New England: if you are looking for a good early—but not too early—season event, come to Hopkinton next year and try to knock me out of the Top 10. Win or lose, I'll meet you for a hot egg and cheese sandwich after the race.

- “Big” Al Prescott, NEM-MAMA, NELMSC Treasurer

MBCC will host their second event of the summer, Against the Tide - Brewster, on August 17 at Nickerson State Park.

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!

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


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/

4th Annual LandShark Swim Dominated by New England LMSC Swimmers

By Alana Aubin, NE-LMSC Communications Chair

Women's 1-mile podium

AMESBURY, MA -- B&S Event Management kicked off the 2017 B&S Open Water Swim Series on Saturday, June 10 with the 4th Annual LandShark Swim. The event welcomed 153 swimmers to Lake Gardner and featured race distances of 1/2 mile, 1 mile, and 2 miles. Balmy weather and a water temperature of 66 degrees made for excellent race conditions. Many New England LMSC athletes made the podium and, after enjoying a post-race breakfast buffet catered by Every Little Breeze Catering, took home a soft-side cooler as a prize.

In the 1/2 mile race, Tom Phillips of Greenwood Masters (GWDM) was the overall champion with a time of 14:13.9, while fellow NEMer Bill Tharion placed third.

Men's 1-mile award winners

At the 1-mile distance, Ildiko Szekely of Boston University Masters Swimming (BUMS) successfully defended her 2016 title to take the 2017 championship in 25:02.5. David Bentley of Charles River Masters (CRM) was the second overall male finisher.

CRM's Katie Levenstein won the women's 20-29 age group, and Katie Dwyer (Unattached) finished second in the 30-39 group. Deborah Sakr of the Granite State Penguins (GSP) won the women's 50-59 age group, while Sweetwater Swim Studio's (SWS) Amy Morin placed third. Anne Verrill (Unattached) grabbed first in the women's 60-69 division ahead of Cathy Utzschneider (Unattached).

Top 3 in the men's 2-mile

On the men's side, John Brady of Great Bay Masters (GBM) won the 50-59 age group and Carl Dearmin from YMCA North Shore (YNS) was second. Andover North Andover's (ANA) Frank Maldari was second in for men aged 60-69.

Great Bay Masters turned out in force for the 2-mile race, led by Guy Davis. Davis finished first overall in 50:53.6, beating out Chris Borgatti (Unattached) and GBM teammate Ed Gendreau. Kirsten Read won the women's race in 51:07.3, finishing ahead of Erica Carroll (BUMS) and Alana Aubin (CRM).

Women's 2-mile podium

Lauretta Bailin (Unattached) was third in the women's 30-39 age group, while NEM's Thomas Volper won the men's division. In the 40-49 age group, Cindy Regnante and Monica Cohen, both Unattached, were first and second for women, while Jonathan Moore of NEM was second for the men. DJ Jenson, of GBM, won the men's 50-59 age group, while Nancy Tunstall from Weymouth Club Masters Swimming (WCMS) and Julie Burnett of Minuteman Aquatics (MAMA) were second and third on the women's side. GBM's Steve Miller was first in the men's 60-69 group, beating out Dave Welch of Andover North Andover (ANA). GBM's Robyn Shiely won the women's 60-69 age group.

The B&S Open Water Swim Series continues on June 24 with the 1st Annual Swampscott Harborfest 1/2, 1, and 2 mile races in Swampscott, MA.

Photos originally posted on the event's Facebook page.

Ninth Charles River One Mile Swim: A Fun Morning on the Esplanade

Contributed by Kate Radville, Race Director

BOSTON, MA -- On June 3rd, 2017, the Charles River Swimming Club hosted its Ninth One Mile Swim in the Charles River Basin. The race, which took place on a single loop course between the Massachusetts Avenue and Longfellow bridges, was the largest in the club’s history. 

Wave 2 prepares to start a few minutes behind Wave 1

This year's edition drew a large, enthusiastic crowd to the river, and sold out at 200 swimmers. Electronic chip-timing allowed for accurate, real-time results despite the race’s unique in-water finish. Conditions were challenging given cool air and water temperatures, a steady head-wind during leg one, and considerable chop. Regardless, many fast times were posted by local masters swimmers. Trent Staats of Charles River Masters was the overall winner in 23:12.1. Sarah Weas of Boston University Masters was the first female finisher with a time of 25:42.5.  

Swimmers complete the loop and finish at the dock

The Charles River Swimming Club is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2005 with the dual purpose of organizing competitive swimming events in the river and facilitating the return of public river swimming to the Charles. After a long history of pollution, the Charles has benefited tremendously from the Clean Charles River Initiative, which began in 1995. The river is now clean enough for swimming on most summer days, and the club hopes to raise awareness of this fact.

Award winners received an 'I Swam the Charles' pint glass and a day of kayaking, SUPing, or canoeing on the Charles, courtesy of Charles River Canoe and Kayak

Swimmers who are interested in either participating in next year’s event or in volunteering should visit the club’s website at www.charlesriverswimmingclub.org. Those with specific questions about getting involved should contact Kate Radville, Charles River Swimming Club Vice President, Race Director, and Charles River Masters swimmer.

The Club, which is run entirely by volunteers, would like the extend its gratitude to the swimmers and volunteers who made this year’s event such a success.  We look forward to celebrating our tenth swim race in 2018!