The Lake Hopatcong Open Water Swim Festival began as a charity event to honor one of Lake Hopatcong’s most well-known businessmen, Tom Wear.  It now also raises money for owner of one of the marinas on Lake Hopatcong and the Wearhouse Grille restaurant who passed away in 2008. Bridgette Hobart-Janeczko, an avid open water swimmer established an open water swim to honor Tom. The first Tom Wear Memorial Swim took place in 2009, with over 100 swimmers taking place in quarter mile and one mile races and swimmers ranging from their early teens to their late 70s. Over eight thousand dollars was raised for the Jefferson Township Animal Pound.

The success of the 2009 swim led to it being selected for the 2010 US Masters One Mile Colonies Zone Open Water Swim championship, bringing athletes from throughout the Northeastern United States. In subsequent years the event has been expanded with races to accommodate experienced and novice swimmers from all over the region and country, with options for passionate competitors as well as “fun” swimmers to enjoy the experience. Our charities have also diversified to four different but vital animal organizations. The event was renamed the Lake Hopatcong Open Water Swim Festival in 2012 to reflect the common enthusiasm we share in open water swimming, and we continue to honor Tom Wear through the 1 Mile Tom Wear Memorial Swim. Our 2012 event was a great success, raising over $11,000 to benefit our animal rescue and K-9 charities.

The event takes place on the beautiful Woodport Bay section of Lake Hopatcong and is only a short drive the the New York City area, making it an ideal escape for the city dwellers, and also a great destination swim for those who would like a fun swim weekend that can be combined with a trip to the Big Apple too!

The Finger Lakes Open Water Swim Festival is a new event in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains of up-state New York.  The race is in the beautiful mountains near the quaint town of Watkins Glen, and is surrounded by majestic pine forests, spectacular waterfalls and lots of wineries and micro-breweries in immediate area too.  Which always a nice stop after the race… and makes it a little easier to sell the gang on taking a fun weekend road trip.

The cool thing about this race is that it raises money to support the Nazareth College Swimming and Diving Team in Rochester, NY.  Swimmers supporting swimmers.  Nice to see.

The actual race is held in the crystal clear water of Seneca Lake, in the Watkins Glen State Park and just outside this beautiful little town only a few minutes from Ithaca, NY too.

The Festival is set over 2 days with the long race on the first day, a challenging 10.5 mile/17 km race.  Then on the Sunday there are: 2 mile, 1 mile & 1/2 mile distances (3.2k, 1.6k & 800m).

With the strategic location of the race, you can expect to see a lot of local triathletes, because of the strong triathlon culture in the area given the proximity to the classic Lake Placid Ironman.  The race will also draw triathletes and swimmers from Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, not to mention the strong contingent of Canadians that are likely to make the short trip south too.

So mark this one on your calendar for a great weekend swimming get-away.



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