On January 17th, Gary Sredzienski completed an unprecedented 6-mile winter crossing from New Hampshire to the Isles of Shoals on behalf of the Krempels Brain Injury Foundation.
Gary raised US$17,000 for his efforts in swimming 6 miles in 39°F (3.8°C) water when the air temperature was 9°F (-12.7°C). Gary left Piscataqua River in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and swam 10K to Appledore Island, the largest of the Isles of Shoals off the Maine and New Hampshire coastline.
Gary took 4.5 hours to do his Isles of Shoals swim (see video below). "I was fighting strong currents. I was weak one mile away from the island, but took a bite of a half of a banana and came right back to life. When I reached Appledore Island, I couldn't spend much time there because everyone on the escort boats were freezing."
This weekend, Gary is going to attempt an encore with another challenging charity swim on behalf of Seacoast Hospice. His 4.5-mile estuary swim with a water temperature under 30°F (-1.1°C). During his last practice swim (a 3.6-mile swim against current), Gary kept swimming into sheets of ice.
While wetsuits are not universally accepted in the open water swimming community, Gary says, "It is a most brutal New England winter this year. I would do anything now to swim somewhere without a wetsuit! But, another cool thing about swimming out here is on the bottom, you find some cool artifacts. My oldest bottle from a creek is from 1766, and I have found handcuffs from the 1700’s."
"With a wetsuit, I still swim 5 days a week 3 hours at a time. I can swim in comfort using a wetsuit. My racing days are over, but I still love to dwell in the water, swim with the seals and pray."
Photos by Deb Cram.