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Recap 2009

Women Rule the Day at 2009 Kingdom Swim

Derby, Vermont – 101 swimmers from 15 states and 5 nationalities participated in the inaugural Kingdom Swim held on July 25th, 2010 on Lake Memphremagog in Newport, Vermont.  Swimmers ranging in age from 6 to 65, coming from as far away as California, Illinois, Texas, Florida and North Carolina participated in one of five events: the 10 mile, 3 mile, 1 mile, ¼ mile, or 100 yard courses.

Saturday started ominously when the electricity failed throughout most of Newport and Derby and then torrential rains fell during the hour before the start.  But the weather began to clear at 8:45 and the civil war cannon fired by Battery E roared right on time to get the Inaugural Kingdom Swim under way as planned at 9:00 am.  The sun showed up and Lake Memphremagog was almost waveless throughout the day, setting some ideal conditions for open water swimming.

10 Mile Course

Rondi Davies, 39 of NYC, with a time of 4:04:49, won 1st place in the female non wet suit division and 1st place overall in the 10 mile open water event starting from Prouty Beach, heading north to the Canadian border, around Cove Island and back.  Kim Sarah Rice, 28 of Durham, NC with a time of 4:20:12 was 2nd in the female non wet suite division, and 2nd overall, while Lisa Neidrauer, 36 of Toronto, Ontario with a time of 4:20:12 came in 3rd place in the division and 3rd place overall.  Ellen Stanley, of Waltham, MA  came in fourth for the women with a time of 4:30:10

John Humenik, 34 also of NYC, with a time of 4:34:20 took first place in the male non wet suit division and 4th place overall in this event. He was followed by Greg Whitman, 31 of Concord, NH with a time of 4:35:57 and David Barra, 44 of High Falls, NY with a time of 4:42:56.

In addition to their birch wood first place medals, Rondi and John were also awarded the highly coveted hand carved Kingdom Swim walking sticks.  “Watching Rondi swim flat out in the open water is one of those things you will never forget as long as you live, she is so long in her stroke,” said Phil White, Chairman of IROC and one of the organizers of the event.  “It’s like seeing her grow to 8’ long,” is the way Ali Hall, one of the participants from California, described it. 

The 10 milers were treated to the sound of the Bells of Cove Island rooting them on as they made the five mile turn and headed back to Prouty Beach.

Rondi and John had to share the Newport Daily Express headline with the winners of the bed races, WMOO-FM, who’s guiding principle for training is “Little sleep and lot’s of enthusiasm.”  That would get you cross the Channel, right George?

Overall, 34 swimmers took on the 10 mile course including 17 year old Eli Barrett of Watertown, VT who finished it in 5:45:05.

Three Mile Course

The men (or the man) struck back in the 3 miler with Rick Gates of Fairfax, VA the overall winner with a “course record” of 1:23:33, narrowly beating out Laura Wilkinson, one of two sharpshooters from Toronto, Ontario (Lisa Neidrauer placed 3rd overall in the Ten Miler) with a time of 1:25:05.  But the fun was just about to begin as a husband and wife team from the little town of Westford, VT took second place in the Men’s and Women’s non wet suit division.  But Beth Kirkpatrick, with a time of 1:31:25, beat out John Doty, with a time of 1:33:25 by a whopping 2 minutes.  Looks like John is taking out the garbage for the month of August.  Congratulations Beth!!!!  Oh yes, and Beth gets to ride in the first car when Westford throws it’s Home Town Heroes Parade celebrating the silver medals won by its local heroes.  This little Vermont town produced three Kingdom Swimmers, Rosemary Shea placed fourth in the Women’s Wet Suit division of the 3 mile swim.  I can’t imagine that they picked up this speed skinny dipping at the Jeffersonville Gorge.  So what’s with this Osgood Hill Gang anyway?

In the end, the women placed second and third overall in the 3 mile event, with 8 out of ten top place finishers in the non wet suit division, giving new meaning to the term femme fatale. 

Special Awards

Gretchen Van De Carr won the highly coveted Last One Back to the Barn award with her time of 6:37:45.  The award is given to that swimmer who demonstrates true persistence and a “fist in the face of reality” attitude so common among residents of the Northeast Kingdom.  Gretchen clinched the award, not only by her persistence and determination in the swim, but also by her enthusiastic banner carry in the Pet and Swimmers Parade.  We love you Gretchen!!  The award consists of the complete set of the works to date by Howard Mosher of Irasburg, Vermont.
George Hunihan, one of number of Channel Crossers who showed up, won the re-named award For the Love of the Swim, an autographed, “Notes from the Perimeter” by our local author, Paul Lefebvre.  It’s awarded to a swimmer who reflects a true love of open water swimming and IROC’s standard for all of our special events, “Just for the Fun of It.”  The award was originally given to George as the event’s Biggest Blowhard.  But on quiet reflection after the event, it was determined that the real basis for the award was George’s total, complete, and robust enthusiasm for open water swimming.  In the years ahead, this award will be known as the Hunihan, For the Love of the Swim Award.  To my thinking it carries the highest honor that can be bestowed on a Kingdom Swimmer.  And George truly earned it with his vigorous and humorous defense of the Santa Barbara Channel Swim Suit standard, in e-mails that will now be buried in the archives of the First Annual Kingdom Swim and will not be released to the public until all parties involved have passed on to another life or at least changed jobs or identities.

Autographed copies of Notes from the Perimeter were also awarded to King Boyd of Newport Center, VT as the “most mature” swimmer of them all.  Dennis Dressel, of Torrington, CT, another Channel Crosser and Lori Carena, of Brooklyn, NY collected the honors as the “most mature” 10 milers.  Special thanks to Paul, a charter member of the Barton Billiards Club, for making this award possible, i.e., writing the damn thing.

High Pledge Winners

35 swimmers participated in the Support Your Swimmer program in which family, friends, and employers to donate on behalf of them and IROC’s Healthy Changes Initiative.  As a result of the minimum pledges submitted by all swimmers and the additional pledges raised by individual swimmers, over $8,000 was raised.  The following are the high pledge raisers and the Thank You Prizes they received:

  1. Shannon von Zirpolo ($545) -- a guided swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco provided by Swim Art.
  2. Erica Sheckler ($510) -- entry to Santa Barbara’s Big Splash, a relay swim across the Santa Barbara Channel donated by the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association.
  3. Cindy Bazemore ($465) -- 2 nights in a condo at Jay Peak, donated by Jay Peak
  4. Ali Douglas ($415) -- A Season’s Pass at Jay Peak, donated by Jay Peak
  5. Paula Yankaukas ($375) -- Louis Garneau Gear, donated by Louis Garneau
  6. Kingsley Boyd ($340) -- a year family pass to IROC, donated by IROC
  7. Peter Stuart ($275) -- Louis Garneau Gear, donated by Louis Garneau.
  8. Jennifer Kimmich ($245) – Louis Garneau Gear, donated by Louis Garneau.
  9. Dan Decelles ($240) – Louis Garneau Gear, donated by Louis Garneau
  10. Laura Malieswski ($215) – Louis Garneau Gear donated by Louis Garneau

At the Swimmers and Kayakers dinner on Friday evening Brooke Smith, age 9, of Waterford, VT was specially honored and awarded a family pass to IROC for raising a total of $210 for IROC’s Healthy Changes Initiative.