Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Deb Roberts, David Dammerman, Roy Ketring, Chris Bowcutt and Bob Singer were swimming together in Lake George, New York [see photo above]. “Why not swim from shore-to-shore, the length of the lake?” they asked each other.

That was the impetus for the start of the 32-milr (51.5 km) overnight Lake George Marathon Swim.

The swim is meant to commemorate Diane Struble‘s pioneering lake crossing in 1958 and the other swimmers who replicated her inaugural swim.

Janet Harris, Elaine Howley, Karyn Scherer, Jones Family Relay (Kelsey Jones + Colby Brown + Margaret Jones + Meghan Jones + Caitlin Joyce + Anne Sinopoli), Caroline Block, and Devon Clifford started off on the first pod with Bob Singer as the pod leader.

Then Michele Walters, Edward Riley, Marcella MacDonald, and Greg O’Connor went off 30 minutes later in the second pod with Harrison Freer as the pod leader.

Binghamton Alumni Colonials Relay (Tom Curly + Adam Pack + Jeff Steindorf + Ed Smith + Brian Powell), Cross Country Mermaids Relay (Janine Serell + Devon Clifford + Lyn Goldsmith + Andrea Ballard + Ali Hall), Just Add Water Relay (Janet Klemm + Sara Wonder + Kristen Lee + Phyllis Ho + Spencer Schneider), San Francisco Dolphins Relay, Jersey Girls Relay (Kimberly Plewa + Jennifer Bauman + Susan Kirk), and Charlotte Brynn started in the third pod with Roy Ketring as the pod leader.

The next pod include Paul’s Traveling Swimmers (Kerry Giumarra + Tad Norton + Sara Swenson + Michael “Mac” Cauley + Mark Raiford), Free Agents Relay, 51.8 Relay (Carrie Mauro + Jason Gardner + Greg Hewlett + Wendy Matthews + Dave Morrissey + Liz Collins + Keith Vogel), Shawangunk Swimmers Relay (Laura Wong-Pan + Bridget Barclay + Ed Stoner + William Miller), and Richard McKern with David Dammerman as the pod leader.

The last pod included Chris Greene, Team Georgi (Nancy Steadman + Christie Ciraulo + Robert Breitel + John Humenik + William Ireland), Red Tide Masters Relay (Abigail Fairman + David Uprichard + Jennifer Snyder + Sebastian Moll + Erin Dougherty), Smoke on the Water Relay (Cheryl Marron + Willy Grimmke + Dan Canty + Rich Starace + Karen Byer + Matthew Glogowski) and Glens Falls Masters Relay )George Stark + Dennie Swan-Scott + Patrick O’Keefe + Michael O’Keefe) who were led by Deb Roberts.

There were a lot of hopes, dreams and goals swimming on Lake George. But the dark clouds and stiff wind did not bode well for a tranquil lake. “There was a strong headwind in Ticonderoga,” said Olympic marathon swimmer Alex Meyer. “There were white caps on the lake and a 15 mph headwind coming straight up the lake [and right into the faces of the swimmers].”

The escort kayakers were having problems under these conditions as the winds continued to build. “One crew boat was taking on water and there were two kayakers in the water and another had to be replaced,” reported a pod leader.

It wasn’t looking good as the sun started to set and the race still had to continue through the night.

It was a telling sign when the most experienced English Channel swimmer of the group, Marcy MacDonald called her swim. Soon thereafter, the race was called off for safety reasons.

But nothing ventured is nothing gained. So the swimmers and organizers learned how difficult this lake crossing can be.

And there is always next year.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association