2017 English Channel swim

Monday, August 5, 2019

Results of my Lake Memphremagog Swim

Wow!  I did not see the legendary mythical creature Memphre during my 25 mile swim of Lake Memphremagog but I felt the beast of that lake in the form of headwinds, adverse currents, rips (similar pull of riptides), and unexpected rapidly changing conditions.   I was fortunate to have the highly respected Phil White as my boat pilot/ observer.  He knows  that lake very well and he was able to successfully guide me to the finish line.   My sister-in-law Jean was my sole crew.....she went well beyond the expectations of being a crew member.   I could not have succeeded if it was not for the both of them.   When I started my swim shortly after 10pm on Wednesday night, conditions were perfect.....no wind, flat water, and water temp in the seventies.   After 3 hours of swimming,  I noticed that my feed plan of low carbohydrates was not giving me sufficient energy.   I was surprised by the lower than expected energy level because I was training for the past five months on a low carbohydrate lifestyle and  my swim training was going well on a low carb approach.   We had a backup plan of very high carbohydrates and we implemented it after 3 hours.   I quickly felt a surge in energy once I started to consume higher carbs.   I tried a new product called  “UnTapped” an organic maple syrup product.  It was fantastic and I plan to use this product on all future swims.
    Due to the Vermont air temperatures prior to my swim being near ninety, I decided to have electrolyte replacements added to my fluids to prevent dehydration.   The supplement was effective and I did not experience dehydration.  I was swimming well and expected an 18 hour to 20 hour finish.   But about two-thirds distance to the finish line, I felt spasms in my right latissimus dorsi (AKA lats).  As I continued swimming, it progressively got worse.  I noticed the only time I had extremely painful spasms was on my right arm recovery.  I tried other strokes like backstroke and breaststroke but they were not effective.   I didn’t want to quit because I felt fine except for my painful right lats.   As a marathon swimmer,  I had a backup plan to deal with this dilemma......one-arm freestyle and keep my right arm to my side.    It was a much slower stroke but at that point all I wanted was to finish my swim.  As the currents got stronger, I started to use my right arm as a modified “doggy paddle” and left arm in full stroke.  It was a pitiful sight to see but it worked.  I reached the finish line in 24 hours and 8 minutes late Thursday evening.  
   Records:  At the age of 68 years and 180 days, I became the Oldest Person to swim the 25 mile length following the Marathon Swimmers Federation rules.   Also, I became the Oldest Person to complete the Triple Crown of Lake Monster Swims.  And, slowest time to swim the length of Lake Memphremagog.   Swimming this lake was an adventure of a lifetime.   Again, my success was due to having a knowledgeable boat pilot and crew.
   After my swim,  I had the usual wobbly legs walking out of the water, clouded thinking, and mild nausea.   These are all typical adverse effects that marathon swimmers will experience  from swimming for very long hours.   However, I experienced distorted vision for one hour and then it resolved.   It was the most bizarre adverse effect.......as we traveled back by car to Vermont (I was not driving) I saw some beautiful shrubbery along the roadside.   As I turned my head to watch the center of the road, the identical image of  the shrubs were now in the middle of the road for about ten seconds and would disappear.   We drove through these images.   I looked toward the right side of the road again and saw a beautiful line of maple trees.   Then, as I moved my head to look at the center of the road, the identical image of maple trees were now in the middle of the road.   Very bizarre adverse effect!!!   Thankfully it cleared within the hour.   I knew that no shrubs or maple trees were actually in the road but my eyes were playing tricks on me.    My young 11 year old  grandson Trevor explained to me that he believed I had developed a temporary visual perception disorder that was caused by the repetitive motion while swimming.......face down in the darkness of the water then turn face to breathe and see an image, and repeat for 24 hours.    This back and forth motion of darkness, seeing an image, darkness, seeing an image for 24 hours caused my distorted perceptual vision.   It was a very unique experience.....glad it resolved.  I don’t know if Trevor made the right assumption but it sounds plausible to me.
    I would like to thank my husband Jim, children Sarah and Tom, grandkids, family and friends for their ongoing love and support.    A special thank you to my good friend and training partner Yoko.  And,  many thanks to  Phil White and my sister-in-law Jean for their incredible willingness to see me get to the finish line.....no matter how long it took.
  My next swim adventure will be sometimes in November or December.   I am scheduled for jury duty in October.   I will post my next swim once my jury duty has been completed.
     Please see my 3 minute video posted on my blog.   Thank you.

Contact information: patgallant.charette@gmail.com

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

It’s a Go!

Due to a recent change in weather, my swim will start tonight, Wednesday, July 31 at 11pm (Eastern Time Zone) from Newport, Vermont.  My boat pilot is the legendary Phil White.  He is highly respected and admired in the open water swim community.   His passion for promoting open water swimming is off the charts.  It’s a great honor to have him as my pilot.
   My Spot Tracker will post updates every 10 minutes during my swim,  click on the link below at 11pm tonight.     It is not activated until that time.  My sister-in-law Jean Murdoch-Gallant has been a fabulous crew member.   She is very well prepared to spend several hours observing my swim.   She will be monitoring my stroke count, feeds, etc.    Due to recent high air temperatures near 90 degrees and warm water of Lake Memphremagog,  we are prepared for possible hyperthermia.  Jean will be supplementing my liquids with electrolytes to prevent dehydration.  We have two coolers filled with ice (if needed).   Also,  I will be drinking plain water hourly.   I continue to plan to consume low carbohydrates during my feeds.  However, we have a backup plan of higher carbohydrates if needed.
   My swim will probably take 18+ hours to reach Magog, Canada.   If anticipated headwinds increase, my swim could add a few extra hours.
    Looking forward to this swim adventure.   Thank you to my family and friends for their ongoing love and support.


Monday, July 29, 2019

Swim update

This evening Jean (crew) and I met with Kingdom Swim boat pilot Phil White to discuss my upcoming 25 mile swim of Lake Memphrémagog.   His experience and knowledge about this lake is phenomenal.   I am very fortunate to have him as my pilot.   He reviewed all weather forecast for the next few days.   Because thunderstorms are predicted for the next two days, he has recommended a 5am (EST) start on Thursday morning from Newport, Vermont.  Due to the increase air temperature of high eighties and warm water temperature of 72 degrees.   I will be drinking plenty of water with electrolytes added to prevent dehydration from the heat.
   I will activate my tracker 10 minutes before the start of my swim.  The tracker will be on the boat and I will swim parallel to it.  The tracker will update every 10 minutes in live time.   Tracking link is in last post.
   Many thanks to my family and friends for their ongoing love and support.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Lake Memphremagog Swim 2019

My next swim adventure will be a 25 mile swim of Lake Memphremagog starting in Newport,  Vermont and finishing in Magog, Canada.  This swim is part of the Triple Crown of Lake Monster Swims.   The other two swims are Loch Ness in Scotland and Lake Tahoe in California.   Each swim has a legendary monster lurking below......I did not see Nessie in Scotland or Tessie in California.  My swim will be in search of Memphre.   The legend of Memphre continues in folklore of the area.   There is a history of sightings since the 18th century.    Will I see this legendary lake monster?      Perhaps, I will be lucky enough to get a glimpse of Memphre.
    My boat pilot is Phil White and I will be following the rules of the Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association.   The rules are like many other marathon swims associations:  start on dry land and finish on dry land.   No wetsuit or neoprene allowed.   Swimmer must wear a regulation swimsuit, cap, and goggles.  Swimmer cannot be touched.   Swimmer cannot touch boat during swim.   If my swim is successful, I will be the oldest person in history to complete the Triple Crown of Lake Monster Swims.    My crew will consist of my sister-in-law Jean.......she has crewed many of my marathon swims.   I am looking forward to my 3 day slot date starting on Tuesday, July 30.
   My Spot Tracker will be activated ten minutes prior to the start of my swim.   The tracker will give updates every ten minutes in live time.   See the attached link below.
   Once I meet with my boat pilot, I will update my blog with start time of my swim.   I believe that it will take me about 18 hours to swim the length of Lake Memphremagog if conditions are good.   If the conditions are choppy, my swim will take much longer.
   Also, many of my friends know that I have been on a weight loss journey by following a healthy low carbohydrate food plan.   I plan to follow this approach during my swim by keeping my carbohydrates low.     This will be my very first marathon swim on this food plan.   I believe this approach will be successful because I have been training for nearly five months on low carbohydrates.
    My swim will be dedicated to my brothers' Robbie and Johnny.     Many thanks to all of my family and friends for their ongoing love and support.
Contact info:   patgallant.charette@gmail.com


Friday, March 1, 2019

Results of Cook Strait swim

My swim started from the North Island of New Zealand on a very calm and sunny day.   I felt strong during my 12+ hours of swimming.   I had no doubt that I would finish.   Then Mother Nature provided very powerful currents and wind.   My boat pilot Philip Rush rightfully stopped my swim a few miles from the finish line for safety of  swimmer and crew.   As the zodiac boat got closer to the main boat,  a large wave caused the zodiac boat to crash into the main boat.  The zodiac was damaged and started to sink with Phil, Tom, and myself still in it with all our gear.   We scrambled to the safety of the main boat.   The Zodiac boat was hoisted to the back of the main boat.
  Swimming Cook Strait was quite the adventure even though my swim was a “DNF”.   I will not be returning to attempt again.   I am satisfied with completing six swims of the Oceans Seven.
   I would like to thank my family and friends for words of encouragement and support.  My son Tom was an incredible crew....I greatly appreciate everything he did.   And, thank you to my daughter Sarah for posting updates on Facebook.    My husband Jim is forever encouraging me to reach for my dreams...I can’t thank him enough.
Also, a special thank you to Suzi Boccanfuso for helping me improve my stroke....it worked.  And, finally many thanks to Yoko Aoshima, my best swim buddy ever....she helped to reinforce Suzi’s advice.