On the American side of Lake Memphremagog sits The Clubhouse, a beautiful log cabin and recently opened up headquarters of Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association (NEKOWSA).
Close to the Black Island, Bell Island, and Cove Island, The Clubhouse was established by Phil White in 2012 and is the nerve center for the open water swimming community of Vermont and the surrounding areas from Lake Memphremagog to Lake Willoughby.
White explains, “From the home dock of The Clubhouse, it is a 5-mile loop around these 3 islands with Jay Peak Resort to the west and the USA-Canadian border to the north. When we organized our first swim in 2009, we really picked the brain of Ned Denison and thought we would only get 10 people to our event. But we had a hundred people in the first year and it has been building since.
We needed a headquarters, so The Clubhouse was formed.”
Sitting near the shoreline of Lake Memphremagog, the log cabin is in full view of majestic sunrises and sunsets over the lake. Like the tight quarters used by the members of the Serpentine in London, the abode of Wayne Ridden in South Africa, and the locker room of the Cabrillo Beach Polar Bears in California, The Clubhouse is a breeding ground of passionate open water swimmers whose dreams of unique, unprecedented, and unusual swims have no boundaries.
“We sometimes talk late into the night about all sorts of things of open water. And we just started on Wednesday night swims..”
Private clubs of open water swimming have a profound sense of mission and character that is empowered by charismatic people and brainstorming sessions that result in ingenious plans for solo swims, relays, and new events.
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