NEWPORT — On February 26 and 27, 135 winter swimmers will be descending on Newport to spend two days swimming 25 to 200-meter events in a two-lane, 25-meter pool cut in the ice of Lake Memphremagog.
The Memphremagog Winter Swimming Festival pool is the only 25-meter competitive winter swimming pool cut in the ice in all of the Americas.
The first Festival was held in 2015 with 41 participants. It has been held every year since then with the exception of last year when they went virtual.
This year’s roster includes swimmers from Alaska, California, Oregon, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Georgia, South Carolina, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, DC, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Ontario. New Brunswick, and Ireland, along with a growing group of Vermonters.
There are 35 volunteers and staff.
This year the winter swim will be held on the same weekend as Newport’s Winter Fest.
The swim festival kicks off at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, and participants are welcome.
Events will continue throughout Saturday and again on Sunday.
Because of the growth of the sport and the presence of 40 winter swimmers on this year’s waiting list, the Festival Organizing Committee will be looking to expand the Festival with an additional day of swimming in 2023
The swim is organized and hosted by Kingdom Games and the Memphremagog Winter Swimming Society.
Kingdom Games now hosts over 30 days of open water swimming, running, biking, and winter swimming events throughout the year.