Ray Gandy, a two-time member of the 24-hour club nearly completed his 50-mile two-way crossing between Newport, Vermont in America and Magog, Quebec in Canada this weekend.

An unexpected, violent, spot storm hit Gandy and his escort team without warning, with gale force winds and lightning less than 4 miles from Gandy’s unprecedented attempt to be the first person to complete a double crossing of Lake Memphremagog.

50-year-old Gandy completed the first crossing of 25 miles, from America to Canada in 13 hours and spent 8 minutes on the Canadian shore talking with supporters before returning to its southern neighbor.

Phil White recalls the evening as he walked back in after 9 pm, “The night was still and the conditions seemed favorable. However, Ray struggled during the night and throughout the morning as his pace slowed. With the rising sun, came southerly headwinds that slowed him down still further. Brutally determined, he broke through the wall and by 2:40 pm he crossed the [USA-Canadian] border, he was swimming strong and at the same pace he had maintained during the first 25 miles of the swim.”

All was seemingly fine, then the general principle of open water swimming (Expect the Unexpected) raised up in its fury. “He had gotten just over 1 mile south of the border, with less than 4 miles to go with completion seeming assured, when we heard the rumble of thunder. Then the spot storm hit with a vengeance. Lightning struck all around us and the winds picked up. Ray was forced to be pulled as we raced for the protection of shore and then south into town.”

As is required in the international border swim, United States border officials formally processed his re-entry to America after his 46-mile 31 hour 5 minute swim.

Gandy swam with a custom-made swimsuit: half US and half Canadian flags as he raised over US$6,000 for IROC’s Healthy Changes Initiative.

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