Could You Take This Plunge?

From Feb. 24-25, winter swimmers from all over the world will descend on Newport, Vermont to swim up to 200 meters in a two-lane pool cut in Lake Memphremagog’s ice.

At the Fourth Annual Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival, twice as many swimmers as last year will jump into the chilly waters and attempt to complete 25 to 200 meters in a two-lane, 25-meter pool cut in the ice at The EastSide Restaurant.

Michael Booth and his ‘Boys of Winter,’ Josh McCoy and Mac McKenna, will begin cutting the pool on Thursday. Saturday kicks off at 10 a.m. with a 25-meter Hat Competition, with the best hat winning a pound of Brault’s Beef Jerky. The swims continue until 4 p.m. on Saturday and resume again on Sunday at 10 a.m.

The public is welcome to come watch.

While many are veterans of this sport, many others are novices who have been training and qualifying this past fall and winter. Twelve swimmers will travel from Ontario, 12 from New York, and 12 from the Boston area.  Four swimmers are coming from Ireland, one from Scotland, one from Alaska, and many more from Georgia, Tennessee, California, Oregon, New Mexico, Colorado, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

The swims are also supported by more than 25 volunteers, many local, but many also traveling from places like Quebec City and New York City to help out and enjoy the Festival.

The event is  hosted by Kingdom Games, The EastSide Restaurant, and Newport City Inn & Suites, and sponsored by Community National Bank, Eden Ice Cider, and Newport Ciderhouse Bar and Grill, Jay Peak, Burke Mountain, Pick & Shovel, Walt’s Sales & Service, and Vermont Sports Magazine.Head to for more information.

Photos courtesy of Bailey Photography