Colchester teen swims from N.Y. to Vt. in less than 4 hours

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Many of us like swimming but not as much as one local teen! He swam from Port Kent to Colchester in under four hours. And it was all for an eighth-grade graduation project. Our Christina Guessferd found out what inspired him.

Geo DeBrosse's journey ended in Vermont, but it started 7 miles across Lake Champlain in New York. And he says it wouldn't have been possible without a team by his side every stroke of the way.

"I didn't think I was actually going to make it across the first day," he said.

That's because swimming 7 miles across windy, open water isn't an easy feat.

"Seven-plus miles is just a lot to do at once," DeBrosse said.

And the 15-year-old did it in 3 hours and 45 minutes among 2-foot waves.

"Unfortunately, I breathe on the side that the waves were coming in. So, every time I would breathe, I would be met with a wave," he said.

DeBrosse grew up splashing around in these waters with a view of Port Kent from his backyard. Because his dad's Colchester house is located on the lake, his parents got him into swimming lessons at an early age.

"A friend asked him in fifth grade, 'Hey, you want to swim with me after school?' And he started, and I think he surprised himself and us and the coaches, like he's really good. He's strong," mom Suzie McCoy said.

McCoy says as a swimmer herself, she's especially impressed by her son's accomplishment.

"Because I jumped in the water for like a mom solidarity little swim, you know, and it was hard swimming! I tried to swim and he dusted me. Left me in his bubbles as they say in swimming," she said.

"I couldn't stand up because I would have fallen over. I tried, and I almost did," said Seb Jacobs, DeBrosse's best friend.

Jacobs paddled alongside DeBrosse the entire way, providing snacks and encouragement.

"Now I can say I paddleboarded across Lake Champlain and I was there when Geo swam across it," Jacobs said.

Also helping him go the distance-- two boats manned by neighbors who wanted to support DeBrosse as he made the trek.

"It was whoever was available, because it was kind of like, oh, weather's nice, get up very early and just head out," DeBrosse said.

The only missing link to his support system-- his long-time YMCA swimming coach, Jacsen Callanan. Callanan had to work.

"Seeing that he could do it in such a short period of time, seeing that he wasn't afraid of the fact that he got out and there was waves out there and he just trucked through-- is pretty awesome," Callanan said.

DeBrosse says if Callanan hadn't been pushing him to be his best for the last five years, the swim wouldn't have been possible.

"I mean, now I can swim across the lake, so that's pretty great!" he said.

DeBrosse is confident he aced the project but he won't know his grade for a few weeks.

Next for him-- attending Champlain Valley Union High School in the fall and swimming with the 15- to 16-year-old age group at the YMCA. He says he's excited to see where this passion takes him.