Lac Memphremagog
By Steven Munatones, Swimming World correspondent, Open Water Source

LAKE MEMPHREMAGOG, Vermont, July 8. AT the Fifth Annual Kingdom Swim signature race, age proved a valuable asset to climb a top the podium.

Maturity showed and stamina was sustained on both the men's and women's side when 20-somethings were able to out-swim some pretty tough and seasoned teenagers. Post college graduates gradually got the upper hand in the challenging 10-mile world championship course against their younger colleagues.


As if hinting at the advantage and benefits of elderly wisdom, the victorious swimmers were awarded beautifully hand-carved walking sticks crafted by a renowned local pediatrician, Dr. Bill Peck.

26-year-old Eric Nilsson (Sandy Lincoln, kayaker) took home the hand-carved Kingdom Swim walking stick and the title of World Open Water Swimming Association's 10 Mile World Champion. The Weston, Massachusetts swimmer and former NCAA swimmer from Northeastern University posted a record setting time of 3 hours 38 minutes 36 seconds. His steady 13:32 per kilometer or a 1:21 per 100m pace was powerful as he kept up his stroke rate while fending off a determined challenge by 17-year-old Feodor Orlov of Dublin, Ohio (Rob Geisler, kayaker) who finished in 3:43:51. Third-place finisher in the 2013 World 10-mile Championships went to 47-year-old Andrew Pulsifer of Ashville, North Carolina (Emily Pulsifer, kayaker) who posted a time of 4:08:56.

Among the women, 23-year-old Kristin Jones (Elizabeth Otto, kayaker) who traveled from Juneau, Alaska claimed the walking stick and world title with a winning time of 4:05:45 (1:24 per 100m pace). Five years her junior, Emma Otto-Moudry, an 18-year-old from Ithaca, New York (Don Houghton, kayaker), finished second in a time of 4:19:99 over Dani Stein of Saratoga Springs, New York (Terry Leahy, kayaker).

Swimmers came from 28 states, two Canadian provinces, and London, England to compete in the Kingdom Swim and the first WOWSA 10-Mile World Championship. Phil White, Director of Kingdom Swim and founding member of the Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association, was characteristically grateful to the volunteers who helped make the event a huge success. "Memphremagog is a big lake with highly variable conditions. The course is beautiful and challenging with long stretches without buoys or guides. Navigation is a key part of the race which is why the event lists the kayaker with the swimmer. This year, Memphregagog provided near perfect conditions although the wind picked up at times and the subtle currents were always ready to challenge even the best navigators."

175 swimmers took part in one of the six races (10 mile, 6 mile, 3 mile, 1 mile, ? mile and 100 yards) with ages ranging from 7 to 70 with awards that ranged from Cobra Kayaks and guided swims in San Francisco Bay to entry in Ned Denison's Cork Distance Week Camp in Cork, Ireland and the S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge in Arizona.

For more information on Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association events, contact Phil White at pwhite@orleansrecreation.org.