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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Meet the Swimmer Scouts, Part III

This morning's offering rounds out our team of solo swimmers and introduces our one relay team.

Liz Fry, 52, Westport, CT
Financial Services Consultant
The most accomplished swimmer scout in the group, Liz Fry is something of a legend in open water swimming circles. The five-time solo crossing veteran of the English Channel achieved a major pinnacle of open water swimming earlier this summer by completing a grueling 24-hour double crossing of the English Channel. She undertook this amazing swim in the same season as her historic “Double Ederle,” a first-ever round trip swim between Sandy Hook, NJ and New York, NY. Liz also holds the record for the fastest clockwise circumnavigation of Manhattan Island—a battering swim going against the swift currents of the East, Harlem, and Hudson Rivers that she completed in 2010. A Catalina Crossing in 2005 puts her on the list of Triple Crown achievers, and some of her other off-the-beaten track swims have ensured her good standing in the annals of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame’s extensive record books.

This open water distance powerhouse is also the director of the St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation’s Swim Across the Sound, a premier, 25K-long open water event that sees upwards of 100 swimmers crossing the treacherous expanse of Long Island Sound every summer.

David Dammerman, 42, Saratoga Springs, NY
Manager, Great Mountain Investment Associates
Swimming changed for David the day he pulled through the water and actually moved somewhere.  So began long summer days at the Y and winter evenings at nearly every pool in Connecticut.  David swam competitively through high school at Fairfield Prep and at Hamilton College.  Ending a half-hearted attempt to continue swimming after college with US Masters, David steered clear of the pool for a number of years.
After moving to Saratoga Springs, NY three years ago, David found a group of early morning swimmers who gave him the boost he needed to come back to the pool regularly.  When spring came, they introduced him to the open water, and he was hooked on longer distances and lower temperatures.  
David swims with Adirondack Masters and directs the annual Betsy Owens Memorial One- and Two-mile Swim event in Lake Placid and helped develop a program to introduce young swimmers to the pleasures of open water swimming.  He won the 10-mile Kingdom swim event in 2011.
In his professional life, David manages Great Mountain Investment Associates, an investment company focused on real estate transactions other private investment opportunities.

Relay Swimmers
Alison Meehan, 39, Elkton, MD
Full-Time Mom (formerly an Elementary School Teacher )
Alison lives in Elkton, MD with her “super-supportive family,” which includes her husband, Ted, and two boys, aged four and nine. She trains in open water with the ABC group in Annapolis, MD. Her biggest challenge these days is raising an Autistic child and trying to squeeze in swim time.

Alison has swum competitively in the pool since she was a child. She was a top breastroker in high school. After high school, she took some time off from swimming, but got back in the pool about six years ago swimming in Masters swim meets. She is ranked nationally in the 50 yard and 100 yard breaststroke events.

Alison discovered open water swimming only four years ago. Her first event was the 1-mile Chesapeake Bay swim, where she placed third. From there on, Alison has competed in many open water events including the Chesapeake Bay 4.4-mile event in 2011 where she finished third in her age group. Her favorite swim so far has been the 6-mile event in Lake Memphremagog where she placed first overall in the non-wetsuit category. 

“Accepting this invitation to swim in a relay was a no brainer for me,” she says. “Lake Memphremagog is such a beautiful lake and I find it to be very spiritual. It’s like swimming to the heavens and I just feel so at peace in the lake.” 

Alison says she feels honored to be a part of this swim and hopes to do the 26-mile solo swim next year.

Shannon Keegan, 36, Derby, VT
Operations Program Manager, Microsoft
Shannon Keegan began swimming at age seven as part of a local summer club swim team. Within two years, she had joined a year-round club team in Denver, Colorado and focused on competitive pool swimming. “As far as I knew, swimming only occurred in the chemically-treated, crystal clear waters of municipal pools,” and Shannon spent most of her childhood “underwater, in chlorinated pools, watching a black line on the bottom.” She hesitated to venture into the local manmade ponds and reservoirs in Colorado because they seemed murky and uninviting, but she continued building up her pool swimming experiences. She competed in various intrastate and local competitions through the end of high school.

Shannon describes herself as a “middle of the road swimmer” and upon entering the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, she hung up her cap. But soon, she was pulled back to the pool by the water polo team.  During her second year of college, Shannon found out that water polo provided a great forum for applying her swimming skills. Once she picked up the fundamentals, she quickly started traveling with UNM’s co-ed intramural team to matches all over the West and Southwest.

In 2008, Shannon moved to Newport, Vermont, and that’s when she discovered the joy of open water swimming. Her first open water swim was the 1-mile race at the Kingdom Swim in 2009. “It was a last minute decision to jump in and I was unsure whether I would be able to brave the murky water or find my way around the course without a black line. Ultimately, I called on my water polo stroke for sighting and eventually found the cool, un-chlorinated, freshwater refreshing,” she says.

In 2010, Shannon tried the 3-mile Kingdom Swim event and later completed the 10K ‘Round the Sound Swim in Harrington Sound, Bermuda. Upon completing this swim, Shannon says she
“realized that there are no limits. If you just keep on swimming, the miles and hours fade away and you can, in fact, complete the 10-mile course at the Kingdom Swim.” She will be testing that theory as half of the lone relay team participating in the In Search of Memphre event. She will be covering 13 miles with Alison Meehan completing the other 13 miles.

When Shannon is not in the water, she works as an Operations Program Manager for Microsoft and enjoys spending time playing along the shores of Lake Memphremagog with her two dogs and husband, Noah.

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