Open water swimming started for me in 2001 with the 1.7 mile Save the Bay swim in Newport, RI.  Read about my experiences below.

Save the Bay- this Newport to Jamestown, RI swim is 1.7 miles in length and spans the picturesque Newport bridge.  The race draws 400+ swimmers and collects monies for research and preservation efforts of Narragansett Bay. I started swimming this race in 2001 and typically finish in the top 15.

Lake Champlain - this race begins with a ferry ride to Willisboro Point, NY. where the swimmers jump in and swim 8 miles across the lake and arrive at Blodgett Beach in Burlington, VT.  I swam this race in 2001 and 2002.  Each year was very different with regards to weather, water conditions and temperatures....I began to see how the same body of water can become very different.

Swim Across the Sound- In 2003, more than 100 swimmers (soloists and relay teams) took part in the all-amateur swim from Port Jefferson, LI to Captain’s Cove in Bridgeport. However, the 15-mile swim was halted after five hours because of thunder and lightning and heavy rain. Despite the inclement weather, more than 3,000 spectators came down to root on the swimmers.  I completed approximately 12 miles of the race when it was called and was the first male finisher.  This is where I met Dave Parcells and Marcy MacDonald, two very important people that would help shape my goals and dreams of swimming a double crossing of the English Channel.

Tampa Bay - In 2005, "treacherous conditions" resulted in only 6 of 19 solo swimmers taking part in the 24 mile swim reaching the finish.  During the race, I experienced what I call "the washing machine effect" - the sea was moving in, around and across my body constantly for a few hours.  It was here that I met race organizaer Ron Collins and other channel aspirants that continued to fuel my dream.  I swam for 7 hours with a sense of urgency...the remaining 4 hours (11 total hours) tested my physical and mental limits.  I could not fall asleep that night due to the body ache that ripped through me.

Lake George - 2007 was the year of my first "professional" swim.  This 25.5 mile swim from Lake George Village to Hague had only been held once before - 80 years previously!  During the middle of the swim, there were 20 mph headwinds which slowed down most of the contestants.  The race was eventually called due to darkness.  Only one swimmer completed the whole course.  I finished in 3rd place among the men.  Swimming for 12 and a half hours, I completed close to 24 miles.  This race helped me understand more about nutrition and training than any other.  Below on the left is Russ, my observer and Pieter is on the right, my support boat captain.

Lake Memphremagog - My second professional swim in 2007 proved to be much more humbling!  This race is part of the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix consisting of full-time professional swimmers from around the world.  The race was 20 miles and I finished in 10 hours....in last place!  A few weeks later, the winner, Petar Stoychev from Bulgaria would set the world record for the fastest crossing of the English Channel in under 7 hours.  This race showed me the level of effort that I need to reach towards in preparing for my double crossing of the channel. Below, I am in the water accompanied by the boat captain and my observer and host, Richard Boudreau.  Note the name sign on my boat in French, as the event was held in Canada.

Boston Light - The Boston Light Swim, a local tradition since 1908, and the oldest marathon swim race in America, starts at the Harbor Lighthouse on Little Brewster Island, continues on past Georges Island and Rainsford Island, passes under the Long Island Bridge, winds around Thompson Island, and finishes at the L Street Bathhouse in South Boston.  I swam twice and won both times - in 2007 and 2008.  Both races were in very different conditions, with the water being in the high 50s to low 60s.  The race organizers are laid back and extremely knowledgeable of the tradition and history of the race.  My escort boat was very large in 2007 and could not get very close to me due to weather conditions.  As a result, I had to navigate mostly on my own which was new to me as I had become comfortable with an escort boat on my breathing side guiding me towards the finish.  The course makes several turns and at times I felt very alone.  My boat captain (Bill Bryant for both years) and crew were always near, I just couldn't see them due to my position in the water, the side I was breathing on and the wave conditions.  Seeing the Boston skyline was a wonderful site and breathtaking each time I have swum the event. 

Flat River Reservoir Champions Challenge is a 10K (6.2 miles) event that I have organized in Johnson's Pond in since 2007.  The swim takes place in late September when the boating season is winding down and the water is cool (60 to 65 degrees).  We had four swimmers participate in 2007 and six in 2008.  Safety is always the foremost issue and we had kayaks, personal watercraft, an escort lead boat and two Coventry Fire & Safety boats.  The event is co-organized with the Johnson's Pond Civic Association.  Below is a picture from the finish of the 2007 race that was published in the Providence Journal. Proceeds from this event are given to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of RI.


English Channel 2009 - I covered the 21miles from England to France in 13hrs and 34 minutes.  Details are on separate pages on this website.

Jamestown 2010 - I covered 41.2 miles in 20hrs, 17mns by swimming twice around the island that Jamestown, RI is on (Conanicut). My crew of Rich, Lou, Joe, Ray (dad), Jessica, Frank and Al were suberb in their support! Dedications were read to me by my crew every 30 minutes - helping me to think of others and to stay focused on small steps toward the overall goal.  As a result of this swim, I was recognized by the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame with 2 World Records - the first person to swim around Conanict Island and the first person to circumnavigate the island twice!  Details are on separate pages on this website.

Narragansett Bay 2011 - I covered 45.6 miles in 27 hours and 42 minutes.  My training partner, Elaine Howley, covered 26.14 miles in 14 hours and 48 minutes.  These results established the furthest and longest recorded swims in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island and were personal bests for both of us.  This swim raised over $11,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Each mile was sponsored, and honored specific individuals with compelling stories of hope, struggle, faith and a love of life.  Learn more about the swimmers, the crews, the donors and honorees at www.5050swimchallenge.com.