Vermont Open Water Swimming Hall of Fame

From Openwaterpedia
Vermont Open Water Swimming Hall of Fame, logo attached to all Inductee profiles

Vermont Open Water Swimming Hall of Fame (VTOWSHOF) is a hall of fame that was established by Phil White and Ned Denison and founded on 24 January 2017. Charlotte Brynn is the executive director of the Vermont Open Water Swimming Hall of Fame.


Vermont is the only landlocked state in New England. Yet, it is blessed with many wondrous freshwater lakes, including river-fed lakes like Champlain and Memphremagog, and glacially carved, majestic, pristine lakes sitting atop their watershed, like Willoughby and Crystal. Many of these lakes, especially in the three-county area known as the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont are distinguished by light boat traffic and tranquility.

For centuries, Vermont presented a perfect place to swim. In the advent of the 21st century, the lakes of Vermont have become a hotbed for open water swimmers, many of whom have grown up on these lakes to become world-class ultra-marathon swimmers as well as cold water swimmers, winter swimmers, ice swimmers, and adventure swimmers.

The mission of the Vermont Open Water Swimming Hall of Fame is to recognize those Vermonters and those with substantial connections to Vermont who have achieved greatness in the open water and those who make significant, awe-inspiring contributions to their success.


Eligibility is open to residents of the State of Vermont or those with a substantial connection to Vermont at the time of their achievements. It is open to open water swimmers who use wetsuits or these with physical issues which necessitate the use of appropriate aids. In addition to achievements and contributions, the character of the individual (or organization) will be taken into account during selection for induction or to remain an Honoree.

Management and Voting

The current Honorees shall vote annually on new inductees. They will also manage the Vermont Open Water Swimming Hall of Fame and develop and evolve rules and procedures for the conduct of the Hall going forward.

Initial Honoree Categories

1. Marathon Open Water Swimmers where a marathon swim is defined as an epic (long course) swim of 10 km or greater.
2. Contributors including Pilots, Crew, Kayakers, and Coaches.
3. Cold Water Swimmers, Winter Swimmers, Ice Swimmers of any distance in water temperatures 5°C or less, and Adventure Swimmers.

Class of 2017 Honorees

  • Chris Steele, 60 of Derby, Vermont: As a Contributor – Crew, Steele piloted and led the fleet of patrol boats supporting the inaugural Kingdom Swim in 2009. He served as the First Rear Admiral of the fleet from 2010 to 2012 and piloted a boat in the first two In Search of Memphre swims through fierce weather conditions. He has supported every Kingdom Swim that his boat was in the water since 2009.
  • Gail Steele, 60 of Derby, Vermont: As a Contributor – Crew, Steele kayaked and crewed at all but one of the Kingdom Swims since its founding in 2009 and crewed with her husband Chris at the first two In Search of Memphre swims.

Class of 2018 Honorees

Class of 2019 Honorees

  • Jennifer Dutton, 49 of Boston, Massachusetts is a marathon swimmer who has been marathon swimming since she was a teenager. With a 30-year career, she is both a veteran and trail blazer in the sport. She did her first 8-mile swim across Lake Champlain in New York while she was still in high school and shows no signs of slowing down. Dutton is a long-time participant in the annual NEOWSA Kingdom 10-mile Swim. In 2012, she completed In Search of Memphre swimming the 25-mile length of Lake Memphremagog in just over 15 hours. Since then, Dutton has completed several 25 km Border Buster swims in Lake Memphremagog, Vermont and has been a fixture on the long distance open water scene in New England and beyond, completing several impressive swims in excess of 30 miles, including an unprecedented 34-mile ABC swim of Lake Keuka in upstate New York. Dutton has completed spectacular swims: first across Torch Lake in Michigan, a gutsy crossing of Lake Tahoe, solo Lake George, a 30-plus-mile Cayuga swim and many others. She does it for herself, not for accolades and with a quiet authority. Dutton also has a deeply personal connection to Vermont. She has family living near St. Johnsbury, and she makes regular visits to the state to swim and visit. Dutton also leads as one of the best high school swimming coaches in New England and as a masterful masters swimming coach freely and quietly sharing her love and devotion to the water with many other people helping dozens of other swimmers achieve great things in Vermont waters and beyond.
  • Kingdom Shore Crew including 40-year-old Kristian Pearson of Newport, Vermont, 69-year-old Peter Channell and 65-year-old Geneve Channell of Stanstead, Quebec, Canada together have been the muscle, the wheels, and the organization behind all of NEKOWSA’s swims from the very first Kingdom Swim in 2009. They have been contributing to these swims as they have grown from 1 day to over 15 days, from 1 lake to 8 lakes, from 1, 3, and 10 miles to 25 miles and everything in between, and from 100 swimmers that first year to several hundred each year. Whatever needs to be done to make these swims happen, they have been doing it for over a decade. Timing, recording and reporting times, registration, waiver and release, t-shirt pick-up and distributions, set up, lunch, piloting and crewing night and day on Lake Memphremagog, standing watch overnight at Georgeville, greeting and monitoring swimmers at the finish, setting buoys, Lacing the Woodals, grabbing the pizza, steaming the corn, trailering and launching boats, escort boat setups in Magog, burger delivery in Georgeville, jerky pick-up at Brault’s, maple syrup pick-up at Couture’s, whatever has needed to be done, they have done it with grace and smiles and steady determination and attention to 'git er dun.' These dedicated, hard-working and caring contributors are the first to arrive, the last to leave and carry the warmest smiles open water swimmers and kayakers could hope to see. Ten years. 80 swim events cumulatively totaling 752.8 miles. They’ve been at the core of it all. True unsung heroes.

Class of 2020 Honorees

Class of 2022 Honorees


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