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?