Vermont swimmer smashes Lake George record

Published: Aug. 26, 2020 at 5:05 PM EDT
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STOWE, Vt. (WCAX) - A 54-year-old Vermont woman recently became just the 14th person since the late ’50s to officially swim the entire distance of Lake George. And not only is she the oldest to do it, but she’s also the fastest.

Swimming has been Charlotte Brynn’s way of life ever since growing up near the water in New Zealand. At five-years-old, she was in the pool before school.

"I've always found it very grounding, and as I got through my teenage years and through competing, the passion really shifted to teaching others and helping them enjoy the water as much as I do," Brynn said.

For the last 20 years, Brynn has been the executive director at the Swimming Hole in Stowe. During that time, she completed several long swims, including a 25-mile trek in Lake Memphremagog on two different occasions. But what she completed a week ago left her... “Super shocked. I didn’t have that on my radar,” Brynn said.

She swam the 32-miles of Lake George from Ticonderoga to Lake George Village. “I’ve been preparing for about six months,” Brynn said.

She started at quarter to nine last Tuesday night and finished just before 2:45 p.m. last Wednesday afternoon -- 17 hours and 58 minutes. She smashed the prior record set in 2017 by more than an hour. Her five-person crew told her she was on the men’s and women’s speed record pace with about 6.5 miles to go, but they didn’t tell her she set the record until 10 minutes after finishing. “And I said, ‘Shut up,’” Brynn said.

Her crew was a key part of the accomplishment. Not only did they keep track of where she was, but they also made sure she was getting her calories -- 11,000 of them were burned during the swim. Every 30 minutes they shouted one word of encouragement to her -- words like determination, desire, and destiny.

"That single word would allow me just to draw strength and focus and get me through the next 30 minutes," Brynn said. "For me to get out, spend just under 18 hours in the water or the soothing feeling of it -- it was just terrific and it was great to have a goal and a focus."

From a young swimmer in New Zealand to a record holder in Stowe. Today’s lesson from Charlotte Brynn -- never turn away a chance to make history.

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