NEK Swim Week
AUGUST 10 THRU AUGUST 18, 2019
8 LAKES – 47 MILES – 9 DAYS
“Magical” “Restorative” “Wonderful Water” “Great People”
SIGN UP AS A VOLUNTER YACKER for one day, several, or all
Start Times: We gather at 8 am and start all swims at 9 am
Lunch: Sandwiches and fresh picked steamed corn are served at all swims. BYOB at all the beaches we use.
Fees; This year we have varied the fees depending on the day. They range from $75 for Island Pond to $175 for Massawippi, Memphremagog, and $200 for the USMS 5 Mile Championship at Willoughby. Swim all 8 days for $875 Because of the community support we receive within the area that makes these swims possible, if you own or rent property in the Northeast Kingdom (Essex, Orleans or Caledonia Counties), you can swim for half price.
All fees paid are non-refundable. We do allow participants to transfer their fees to another event in the same year or to apply 50% to an event in the following year, providing that the election is made more than 30 days prior to the event.
The Swims, with maps, fees and caps for each:
August 10, 2019 – Crystal Swim – We gather at Crystal Lake State Park, 96 Bellwater Ave, Barton, VT 05822. Map Here. We Swim east to the cliffs, hang a right, swim south to Moose Rock, cross the lake westerly to the railroad tracks, head north back to Crystal State Beach. 5 miles +/- in a spring-fed marvel. We offer shorter distances (swim to the cliffs and back to the beach) For a chart of the swim course, click here Fee: $125.
August 11, 2019 – Island Pond Swim – We gather at Lakeside Park, 32 Mill Street, in Island Pond (Brighton) Map Here and leave from the Public Boat Dock, swim around the island, across the lake and back. Last year we saw a pair of bald eagles fishing. 4 miles +/- Lunch sandwiches are offered on the beach with BYOB. For a chart of the swim course, click here, Fee: $75.
August 12, 2019 – Lac Massawippi, Ayre’s Cliff, Quebec. 3, 6, 9, and 18 Mile Swims. Shorter distance swimmers will be ferried out in a patrol boat and dropped in the lake to swim their chosen distance to shore. 18 milers leave at 5 am from the bridge in North Hatley 56-68 Rue Main, North Hatley, QC J0B, Canada. 3, 6, and 9 milers leave from the Massawippi Public Beach just across Route 141 from College Servite, 470 Main Rue, (Route 141) Ayer’s Cliff, QC J0B 1C0, Canada Here’s The Map to the lake. For the chart of the swim course click here Marathon Swim #1. After party at Auberge Ayer’s Cliff. Fee 3, 6, and 9 milers: $175; Fee for 18 milers: $425.
August 13, 2019 – Lake Seymour – We gather at the state beach at 6619, Vermont Route 111, Morgan, VT 05853 Map Here. We swim to Wolf Point, then on to the concrete barrier wall near the dam across the lake, and back to the beach. 6.2 miles +/- Marathon Swim #2 For a chart of the swim course, click here Fee: $150. Cap: 30 Swimmers.
August 14, 2019 – Echo Lake Swim – We park at 812-1042 East Echo Lake Road, West Charleston, VT 05872, Map Here and haul our kayaks down to the water. We launch from the Northwoods Stewardship Property and swim the perimeter once for 6 K or twice for 12 K . Echo Lake is the most pristine lake of the week, although Crystal, Caspian, Seymour, and Willoughby are right in the mix and Memphremagog, Island Pond, and Massawippi are not far behind. Marathon Swim #3 For a chart of the swim course, click here Fee: $150. Cap 30 Swimmers
August 15, 2019 – Lake Memphremagog – Clubhous Swim. We gather at The Clubhous, 649 Sunset Acres, Derby or Newport, VT The Map Leave from The Clubhous Beach, swim to the south of Bell Island, turn north toward Province Island, across to the slash on the West side and into Canada, around the North end of Province, then south east past Eagle Point and Cove Island and back to The Clubhous beach. 6.5 miles. Marathon Swim # 4. After swim pot luck BBQ at The Clubhous. For a chart of the swim course, click here Fee: $150.
August 16, 2018 – Willoughby 2019 USMS Sprint Distance Open Water National Championship. This is a new offering for the week. Fee: $75. Registration is now open.
August 17, 2019 – Willoughby 2019 USMS Long Distance Open Water National Championship. – A no-nonsense, 5-mile swim on one of the most majestic and pristine, glacially carved lakes in the Americas. We gather at 8 am at North Beach on Willoughby Lake Road (Route 16) in the Town of Westmore. Map Here We determine the most likely wind direction during the swim. We try to swim with the wind and leave from North or South beach at 9 am. This swim is a true race. Sandwiches at the White Caps Campground and all the steamed corn you can eat. For a chart of the swim, click here Fee: $200. Cap 100 swimmers. (Note: we have raised the fee to cover the cost of attracting motor boats, pilots and spotters to cover the increased numbers expected for this event at the rate of one motor boat for every 10 swimmers.) Registration for the USMS National Championship is not yet open at this time)
August 18, 2019 – Caspian Swim – 3 miles to Bathtub Rock and back or 1.5 miles to The Rock with shuttle back. Caspian is a hidden jewel. Just a great way to end a great week of open water swimming. We start and finish at the public beach at Greensboro. 126 Beach Road, Greensboro, Vermont. The Map For a chart of the swim course, click here Fee $100.
Yackers and Kayak Rentals
All swimmers must be accompanied by an escort kayaker at each swim. We STRONGLY encourage swimmers to bring their own kayakers with them. We work hard to recruit and retain a group of battle hardened and dedicated kayakers who regularly offer to help out at our swims. We charge $100 for this service and in turn pay a stipend to these volunteers and offer them free lodging. We make them available on a first come first served. So, if you need us to provide a kayaker we encourage you to register sooner rather than later so you can be placed higher on the list.
We can provide rental kayaks (with two pfds, a paddle, and a whistle) at the beach on the morning of the swim for a fee of $65 for a day. Full weekly rental rates of $300 for all eight days are also available.
Safety Protocols Applicable to All Swims
All swimmers must be qualified for the distances they choose to swim. They must certify that they have swum at least 2/3 the distance of their swim in the open water and that they know of no medical reason why they should not undertake their swim.
The swim will not be conducted (or will be delayed) in the event of dense fog significantly impairing visibility or a serious risk of thunderstorm during the swim. We consult marine weather channels for the latest information. We also use radar apps on our cell phone.
Should there become a reason to evacuate the lake mid swim, we use three blasts of an air horn. We pull swimmers first and ask kayakers to head immediately thereafter to shore.
Every swimmer is accompanied by a kayaker who has an extra pfd. The kayakers serve to navigate and feed the swimmers and stay close to them at all times. They also serve as notice to boaters of a swimmer in the water. If a swimmer is distressed, and needs to be pulled, the kayakers are instructed to provide the swimmer with the extra pfd and signal for help from a patrol boat, using an air horn, or waving a brightly colored shirt. Swimmers and kayakers must be within 15 feet of each other at all times.
Every swim has at least one motor boat patrolling the course and watching for signals from kayakers. We enlist local support on each lake and maintain a ratio of about 1 motorized boat for every 10 swimmers. All kayakers are instructed to carry their cell phones in a zip lock plastic bag and have the cell phone number of the race director pre programmed.
We have a life guard on the beach. We notify the nearest EMT services of the swims. And would use the 911 number in the event of an emergency.
The lakes we swim in the Northeast Kingdom have no commercial boat traffic and minimal recreational boat traffic. Water quality is excellent throughout and pristine in most of the lakes we swim.