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Monday, September 9, 2013

Two Swimmers Complete Crossings of Lake Memphremagog

Barbara Malloy, Sarah Thomas, Bob Fernald, Humphrey Bohan, and 
Phil White mug for the camera the night before the search
Sarah Thomas, 31 of Conifer, CO, stepped into the water in Magog, Quebec at 12:22 pm on Friday, September 6, 2013, facing 20+ MPH winds and waves coming directly at her from the south west. Sarah was attempting to be the first person to complete an international 50-mile double crossing of Lake Memphremagog between Magog, Quebec and Newport, Vermont. She was participating as part of the Third Annual, In Search of Memphre with the plan to join up at midnight with three other ultra marathon swimmers attempting a 25-mile one way crossing, from Newport to Magog - Humphrey Bohan, 38 of Medford Lakes, NJ, Bob Fernald, 46, of North Hampton, NH, and Bethany Bosch, 29, of Wallingford, VT, who would all be departing from Newport VT at midnight and swimming throughout the night and day of September 7th.

Prior to Thomas' start, the weather forecast had called for light and favorable winds from the north for the first leg of the swim. But that's not what she got. Rather, she found wavy conditions and a 20+ mph headwind for much of the first leg of the swim. But, Thomas didn't flinch. Over the course of the next 30 hours, Memphre threw some serious surprises in there for all the competitors, with windy and wavy condtions throughout most of the swim. Sarah just ate her [Memphre, the monster, metaphorically speaking, or course] alive, one powerful stroke after another and triumphed. So did Swimmer Scout Bethany Bosch, who completed her 25-mile one-way swim under windy condtions. Epic and historic swims, both. Humphrey Bohan and Bob Fernald were valiant in the face of these wily and unpredicted conditions before they were forced to pull with injuries, a stabbing pain in the shoulder for Bohan, and a misaligned rib for Fernald. Both deeply painful injuries that these brave swimmer scouts were smart to pay attention to. 
Bethany Bosch, Bob Fernald, and Humphrey Bohan
prepare to start their swim shortly before midnight

Thomas’s swim came right on the heels of her successful 44-mile crossing of Lake Tahoe earlier this summer. Bosch is known for her swimming buddy, 3-year old chocolate lab, Guri Bosch, who was the first dog to make the 5-mile swim the length of Lake Willoughby also earlier this summer. It's been an amazing season in the Kingdom.

Some wonderful cooperation from the folks in Magog and Newport and the border officials on both sides of the border made this swim possible. The In Search of Memphre organizing committee would like to thank everyone involved for their enthusiastic support of this international swim.

And to the 22 pilots and crew members who were out on the lake supporting these inspiring swimmers-- huge, huge thanks for the support that made this possible.
Sarah Thomas enters the water in Magog, QC to start her historic double crossing of Lake Memphremagog

The official times:

Sarah Thomas 

Leg 1

15:09 Magog to Newport

6 minutes out of the water in Newport (just long enough to reapply sunscreen and snarf down a big handful of baby carrots)

Leg 2

14:46 Newport to Magog.

Total time start to finish 30:01  

Thomas triumphant after 30 hours in the water. 

Bethany Bosch

17:11 Magog to Newport
Bosch finishes with a broad smile after more than 17 hours in the lake.

In Search of Memphre is made possible by the underwriting of Jay Peak Resort and North Country Hospital and the sponsorship of The Passumpsic Savings Bank, Northeast Delta Dental, Community Financial Services Group, Town of Derby, City of Newport, Derby Village Store, Wilson & White, PC, and is part of 25 days of running, biking, swimming, triathlon, and kayaking organized as part of Kingdom Summer Games.

Special Thanks to Barbara Malloy, Vermont’s First Lady Dracontologist, for her support of In Search of Memphre and for the many decades she has devoted to collecting and archiving over 175 sightings of our famous and friendly lake beast.

Congratulations to all four of this year’s swimmers for joining the legendary ranks of Swimmer Scouts and laying down some epic and historic swims. The Search continues.

Phil White, Director
Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association

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