Hyde Park swimmer completes Triple Crown

HYDE PARK, Vt. In early September, Paula Yankauskas, 64, of Hyde Park swam across the Catalina Channel.

"I was so glad that it was done," Yankauskas said.

It hasn't been marked official yet, but when it does, she'll become the 198th person in the world, the 98th American and the only person currently in the state of Vermont to complete the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming.

Yankauskas completed the other two parts of the Triple Crown, finishing the English Channel in 2016 and the 20 Bridges Manhattan Island swim in 2017.

Originally, swimming the English Channel was a three-year goal, but after nailing it in only a third of the time, she continued to think about her next challenge. Once she completed the Manhattan swim, she knew the Triple Crown could become a reality.

She has taken open water swimming more seriously over the past 20 years. This began with her training at the Swimming Hole in Stowe and at the Green River Reservoir in Hyde Park.

"I trained my brain really, really hard to mentally handle these things, because physical demand can mean really tired or uncomfortable or cold or painful and you really have to train your brain to say you're ok keep going," Yankauskas said.

Yankauskas was also named the Northeast Kingdon Open Water Swimming Association's Swimmer of the Year in 2013.

She says there's no big plans on the horizon, except to prepare for a 10 mile swim three weeks from now in Tennessee.