Around the Northeast Kingdom

Swimmers to brave the ice of Lake Memphremagog

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Winter Swimmers from all over North America, Ireland, and Scotland will be descending on Newport, on the weekend of February 24 and 25 for the fourth annual Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival.

They will swim distances ranging from 25 meters to 200 meters in a two-lane 25-meter pool cut in the ice at The East Side Restaurant on Lake Memphremagog. Michael Booth and his “boys of winter” Josh McCoy and Mac McKenna, will begin cutting the pool on Thursday. Saturday kicks off at 10 a.m. with a 25-meter hat competition — the best hat winning a pound of Brault’s Beef Jerky. The swims continue until 4 p.m. on Saturday and resume again on Sunday at 10 a.m. The public is welcome to come watch.

The number of swimmers is double the number from last year. While many are veterans of this sport, many others are novices who have been training and qualifying all this past fall and winter. Twelve swimmers are traveling from Ontario, 12 from New York, and 12 from the Boston area. Four swimmers are coming from Ireland, four more from New Mexico, one from Scotland, one from Alaska, and many more from Georgia, Tennessee, California, Oregon, Colorado, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

The swims are also supported by over 25 volunteers, many local, but many also traveling from places like Quebec City and New York City to help out and enjoy the festival.

For more information, go to, or contact Phil White, director of Kingdom Games at [email protected] — from Kingdom Games.

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