An international border divides Lake Memphremagog in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. And for the last seven summers, a group of marathon swimmers have challenged that border and themselves.
They gathered before dawn last week. Seven swimmers, ranging in age from 14 to 69, made nervous small talk as they bundled themselves in parkas, towels, even a spare tablecloth to ward off the chilly north wind.
Every swimmer has a support crew in a boat or kayak. Race organizer Phil White checked their radios and went over safety procedures.
“What we’re going to do is get the boats set up, have them all out there. Then the swimmers can gather, and enter to the right of the dock,” White said.
White first saw the lake in 1980 when he was appointed Orleans County state’s attorney.
“I fell in love with it immediately. I mean, first sight,” he said. “And I’ve talked to a number of people that have come into town, just looking around, and bam, they just fell in love with this lake.”