Vera Rivard Swims Solo Across English Channel at Age 16

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Photo Courtesy: Vera Rivard via Kingdom Games
Vera Rivard, a 16-year-old U.S. swimmer, completed a solo swim of the English Channel on Sept. 1.
The Springfield, New Hampshire, and Derby, Vermont, resident, finished the swim in 14 hours, 10 minutes, becoming the youngest to complete the crossing in years. According to Channel Swimming Association website, Rivard is the 1676th person to make the crossing since 1875 and second American to finish the swim in 2020. Swimmers must be 16 to attempt the swim.
Rivard started out from Samphire Hoe beach in Dover, England, at 9:38 a.m. and set foot on Wissant Beach, France, at 11:48 p.m. local time.
“That was a swim of a lifetime. I have dreamt of this for as long as I can remember,” Rivard said. “It was better than I could have ever hoped. I am so grateful for this adventure.”
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Photo Courtesy: Vera Rivard via Kingdom Games

The air temperature was 57.9 degrees Fahrenheit, while the water temperature was 64.5 degrees. he wind speed was recorded at 9 knots.

Escorting Rivard across the channel was Peter Reed and his son, Peter Reed Jr., piloting their boat, Rowena, under the auspices of CSA (Channel Swimming Association). The official observer was Aaron Reed. Vera’s boat crew was her mom, Darcie Deblois-Rivard and her 13-year-old sister, Margaret Rivard, who is also an accomplished marathon swimmer and training partner with Vera.
Vera wore a UVAC swim cap to honor her late coach, Dorsi Raynolds of the Upper Valley Aquatic Center in Hartford, Vermont, where Rivard has swum during the colder months since she was 5 years old.
Rivard’s first open water event was the 1 mile swim at Kingdom Swim on Lake Memphremagog in 2014, when she was 10, according to a press release from the Kingdom Games. She swam longer, further, and more each year thereafter at a variety of events hosted by Kingdom Games and the Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association. In 2018, when she was 14, she completed the 25-mile international swim, In Search of Memphre, on Lake Memphremagog between Newport, Vermont and Magog, Quebec.
Last year, Rivard participated in the Cork Distance Week, run by Ned Denison. She also receives some open water coaching from Charlotte Brynn of the Swimming Hole in Stowe, Vermont.
Earlier this summer, Vera Rivard swam 28 miles around Manhattan Island, in a solo 20 Bridges Swim organized by New York Open Water, according to the Kingdom Games release.

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Photo Courtesy: Vera Rivard via Kingdom Games

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2 years ago


2 years ago

You go girl!!!
Making us all proud?❤️?

Watts family
2 years ago
Reply to  Lyn

Congrats from Indianapolis, indiana. Great accomplishment you should be so proud something you’ll hold on to you whole life.

Steve Diamond
2 years ago

Wow!! Congratulations!!

Penny Amyot
2 years ago

What a feat! I live across the road from lake Memphremagog & love to go Kayaking off Eagles Point & around the island’s. I can see why you like to swim Lake Memphremagog. It’s so beautiful!
You are making us all proud Vera! The English Channel @ they age of 16 makes you a rock star in the swimming world! Congratulations Vera! You absolutely ROCK!

2 years ago

congratulations Vera.great achievement !