Vermont Spring Swim Tour: Mighty Memphremagog

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The Specs:

Lake Memphremagog is about 25 miles long, tip to tip, and stretches from Newport, VT up to Magog, QC.  It’s a long, narrow, beautiful body of water.  It’s a great lake for fishing, boating, water skiing and, of course, swimming.  Every year, swims of all distances are hosted out of Prouty Beach in Newport and swimmers from all over the world come to participate.  It’s an incredible opportunity to swim, but it’s even more special that it benefits the communities in and around Newport and their indoor recreation facility.

To learn more about the amazing Kingdom Swim Summer Series, check out their website:  http://www.kingdomswim.org

Memphre:

The monster that lives in Lake Memphremagog is named Memphre.  I have come up with a list of proposed methods and strategies with which to find Memphre, but I will leave those to a later post.

Memphremagog:

Memphremagog is an Indian name meaning “big puddle with huge monster in it.”

Ba ha ha!  I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist!  I totally stole that from a friend, but I love it!  Since I intend to participate in the 25 mile Search for Memphre, I think I’ll keep the definition!

My Swim History on Memphremagog:

I did my first 10 mile Kingdom Swim in 2011.  Returning in 2012 found my time for the course improved by about an hour and 45 minutes.  This year, I am unable to participate in Kingdom Swim, but I will be there in September for the 25-mile Search for Memphre swim.  I am so looking forward to it!

Last year, work moved me up into the Northeast Kingdom pretty regularly and I was able to swim multiple times on Lake Memphremagog with friends.  My inaugural swim on Memphremagog last year was May 12 and the water was 50-51 degrees.  That was great fun!  This year, my early excursion and all of the photos above are from May 9.  I forgot my thermometer, though.

Memphremagog Best Memories:

During the first Kingdom Swim in 2011, I had the worst cramp in my side.  Back then, I didn’t bilateral breathe because I thought I had to keep my eye on the kayak the entire time.  Anyway, the cramp only got worse every time I turned to breathe and I finally stuck my head out of the water and gasped, “I can’t do this.”  Of course, I meant, ‘keep breathing to that side’.  Natalie thought I meant, ‘swim’.  But I didn’t explain myself so she asked me if I needed a break.  I was like, “No, I just need to swim on this side of the kayak.” And I switched sides and kept swimming.  Poor Natalie… she was so confused.  To date, that’s the only time I’ve ever said, “I can’t do this.”

Kingdom Swim 2011 was so stressful for me, because I was just so slow back then.  And they had said I had to be done at 7 hours and I knew I wouldn’t make it.  I spent the entire swim trying so hard to go as fast as I could.  And when I finally got to shore, expecting that the beach would be deserted, the finish line would be down, and nobody would give me an official time… I was met with a standing ovation from a whole hillside of swimmers and support people.  There aren’t words to describe that moment to me.  Really?  Me?  Just for finishing?  For swimming the whole way?  Even though I came in last?  I was both humbled and honored and even more determined to become a better swimmer.

I was hit by a boat (very gently, of course) on Lake Memphremagog during one of my excursions with friends.  Ha!  Poor Seth!  He was so worried until he saw me floating and smiling at him.  I told him we were fine to keep swimming, but boy – I had a headache!  When we got back to shore I was quite proud of my bruise and the bump.  Jen was so mad, too!  “You hit her with your boat?!”  I can still hear her saying that.

Kingdom Swim 2012 was the only time that Plucky has ever been swamped.  And I was more worried about Plucky than my brother, because he had a life vest and Plucky doesn’t.

I won’t ever forget driving back from the end of the In Search of Memphre Swim 2012.  Watching over the swimmers and crews swimming from Vermont into Canada from midnight until 4 that afternoon, I was exhausted and giddy from the triumph of it all, sitting in the back of that van with tears streaming down my face saying, “I just love swimming.”

My Goal:

I definitely want to swim the length of the Lake, all 25 miles this September.

More personally, my history on Lake Memphremagog plays such a huge role in my confidence and development as a long distance swimmer, it is one of my favorite places to swim.  When I catch a glimpse of her, my heart skips a beat.  There isn’t anything like the lavender mountains against a pink sunset sky and the cold, cold water.  I hope that I can always be a part of the Kingdom Swim Summer series in some way.  I hope that I can always have a part in the swims on that lake so that other swimmers can have the opportunities that I have had.

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