Kingdom Swim attracts swimmers worldwide, event relocated due to flooding

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WESTMORE — The 15th Annual Kingdom Swim event took place on Lake Willoughby on July 29 and 30, where 100 swimmers and their kayakers traversed distances of 1.2, 5, 10, and 15 miles. The usual venue, Lake Memphremagog, had to be switched to Willoughby due to heavy rains and flooding in the past weeks.

The participants and organizers were assisted by numerous local volunteers and institutions like the Town of Westmore, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, and the Vermont Department of Public Safety who issued expedited permits to facilitate the venue change. The event also saw an influx of support from volunteers traveling as far as San Francisco.

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The record for the 15-mile Triple Cross was broken by Anton Janezich, 31, from Bethesda, MD, with a time of 5 hours, 35 minutes, and 11 seconds. Charlotte Brynn, 57, from Stowe and Newport, Vermont, won among the women in this category with a time of 7:36:32.

Jon Ferris, 42, from Lincoln, MA, and Emily Frank, 56, from Beaconsfield, QC, won the 10-Mile Double Cross in the men’s and women’s categories respectively.

A new course record for a 5-Mile single crossing was set by former Olympian, Alex Meyer, 35, from Salem, MA, with a time of 2:01:08, and among the women, the first place went to Lucy Kappel, 44, from Pelham Manor with a time of 2:34:23.

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In the 1.2-mile swim category, the winners were Mark Kneply, 39, of New York, NY, and Elizabeth Murphy, 30, of Waterford, VT.

A notable achievement came from Jannelle Alexander-Sumpter, 60, from Stone Mountain, GA, who won the “Last One Back to the Barn Award,” which is given to the participant displaying grit and determination to complete the challenge, embodying the spirit of the Northeast Kingdom.

The event marked a triumphant gathering of old and new friends united by a love for open water swimming, and despite the initial challenges, the 15th Annual Kingdom Swim was a success.

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