NEWPORT –– Phil White, the esteemed Director of Kingdom Games and founder of the Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association (NEKOWSA), is set to be inducted into the New England Local Masters Swimming Committee’s (NELMSC) Hall of Fame on October 1. This prestigious recognition honors White’s significant contributions as a race director, administrator, and photographer in the open water swimming community.
Upon announcing the induction, Tracy Grilli, Chair of the NELMSC, commended White and his team for organizing over 40 days of diverse competitions, ranging from ice swimming to marathon swimming through Kingdom Games.
“He inspires people from all walks of life, ages, and abilities to participate in races both short and long on a year-round basis. He enthusiastically encourages daring people to dream and helps them achieve those goals,” Grilli stated.
White expressed his gratitude for the honor, noting the growing recognition of Northeast Kingdom of Vermont’s waters as an “unlikely mecca” for open water swimming. He celebrated the bonding within the New England open water swimming community and appreciated the acknowledgment of the area’s beauty, adventure, and camaraderie.
This accolade follows several recognitions for White, including being named one of The Most Influential Open Water Swimming Personalities from 1950 to 2020 by the Daily News of Open Water Swimming and receiving awards from the Marathon Swimmers Federation and the L Street Swimmers of South Boston.
Recent challenges, including weather adversities, tested the resilience of the swimming community, but White remained optimistic.
“The Tribe stuck by us and we are stronger for it,” he said, reflecting on the adjustments and support that marked the past season.
White concluded with a heartfelt acknowledgment of the collective efforts that have positioned the lakes of the Northeast Kingdom as a world-class venue for open water swimming.
“We deeply appreciate this recognition of what we and so many others have accomplished over the past 15 years,” White said. “Thanks to the hard work of the Clubhous Gangstas and scores of volunteers, along with the support of sponsors, partners, and friends, it is now well known around the world that the quality of our waters, the beauty of our working landscape, the lack of boat traffic, and the community of support we have painstakingly developed make the lakes of the Northeast Kingdom a world class venue for open water swimming.”