Phil White and 11 fellow open water swimmers established the Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association (NEKOWSA) to promote and coordinate open water swims in the gorgeous lakes of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, a wonderfully peaceful part of the eastern United States.

The clarity of the lakes in Vermont rival any of those throughout North America. They are geological marvels that NEKOWSA celebrate and promote with its open water swims in summer 2010.

We’re very excited by the incredible response we have received from so many swimmers, local and from away,” said White.

In a very short span of time (3 years), White has organized a number of swims from the Son of a Swim (2-, 4-, 6-mile races), the Kingdom Swim (1-, 3-, 6-, 10-mile races), the Seymour Swim (1.75-, 3.5-mile races), and the The Monster Swim (In Search of Memphre) (25-mile international crossing across Lake Memphremagog) to the Swim The Kingdom series.

The Swim The Kingdom series offers 7 open water swims in 9 days:

June 15th: Son of a Swim – 2, 4, and 6 mile swims in Lake Memphremagog and qualifier for Kingdom Swim
July 6th: Kingdom Swim – 100 yard, ¼-, 1-, 3-, 6-, 10-mile swims for adults and youth (including WOWSA World 10 Mile Open Water Championship in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017)
August 3rd: Seymour Swim, a 1.75- and 3.5-mile swims
August 10th-18th: Swim The Kingdom, 7 swims in 9 days
August 10th: Crystal Swim, a 4-miler under the cliffs and around the shores
August 11th: Island Pond Swim, a 3-miler from Brighton State Park Beach around The Island
August 13th: Seymour Swim, a 3.5-mile double loop August 14th: Massawippi – 4-miler starting and ending at Ayres Cliff, Quebec
August 15th: Memphremagoga 4-miler in Derby, around Black, Belle, and Cove Islands
August 17th: Willoughby Swim, a 5-mile majestic swim
August 18th: Caspian Swim, 3-miler to Bathtub Rock and back or 1.5 miles to The Rock

The logistics of putting on a world championship swim are daunting,” said White. “We devote the time from June 1st to July 6th to running the very best, the very safest, and the most joyous swim we can. It is a community celebration.” The WOWSA World 10-Mile Championships is a competitive event, but it is also a charity fund-raiser to purchase a recreational center for an area plagued by high levels of unemployment, poverty, obesity, diabetes, smoking, and heart disease. “Our rec center had some great programs that addressed these issues. A vibrant summer series of running, biking, swimming, and kayaking can support some great causes in this area. We have some great high pledge prizes: a Cobra kayak, an Alcatraz Island swim entry, and a free slot in Ned Denison’s Cork Distance Week.”

With his relentless passion, White has developed this home-grown, grassroots aquatic initiative with one swim to an association that is now organizing 11 days of activities, including the inaugural WOWSA World 10-Mile Championships. “It is our honor to open our lakes to a great group of swimmers while doing good for the local community.”

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming