July 2016 - Swimming
David Dammerman Sets Lake George Swim Record
By Bob Singer
David Dammerman, age 47, of Saratoga Springs, swam the 32.2 miles of Lake George in 18 hours, 49 minutes, 22 seconds on June 18-19. This shattered the record of 21 hours and 26 minutes set by John Freihofer in 1981. The swim started at 5pm on Saturday and finished at 11:54am on Sunday. The most recent successful non-stop swim of Lake George was by Lake Desolation resident Jerry Ferris in 1983. David joins Jerry Ferris in saying it was the hardest swim he’s ever done, and that comes following successful swims across the English Channel. David also holds the record for the fastest swim across the 25 miles of Lake Memphremagog in Vermont. David was one of two swimmers who started the swim. The second swimmer, a very experienced marathon swimmer from New York City, dropped out after 13 hours and 14 hours when it was apparent that she would not finish in under 24 hours.
The water temperature averaged 68 degrees. The weather was warm, with 80s at the start, falling to 56 in the early morning, and rising to the mid-80s at the finish. Winds were mostly light but several hours early Sunday morning included winds of 10-15mph out of the south, resulting in moderate chop.
David is a Saratoga businessman who swims for fun, health, and the social contacts with similar-minded people. He has been an active advocate for many local swims and triathlons, and was the race director of the two-mile USMS National championship in Lake Placid. His training involved swimming five to six days a week at the Saratoga YMCA for about 4,000-8,000 yards a day, and in open water whenever he traveled. He started training in Lake George this year in April, when the water was 49 degrees. Despite this experience, he said “I almost quit when I cleared the Narrows and Dome Island seemed to not get closer for hours.” Then he almost quit again when Canoe Island remained on his horizon, seemingly immobile. His support crew included Deb Roberts of Queensbury, Anne Green of Bolton Landing, Chris Bowcutt of Burnt Hills, and Roy Ketring of South Glens Falls.
David and his crew, along with myself, and co-director Alex Meyer (2008 Olympic 10K swimmer and 15K world champion) of Ithaca, are planning the Lake George Marathon Swim, September 17-18. The purpose of the swim this past weekend was to test the logistics and support for the big September event, which will have 14 solo swimmers, and 75 relay swimmers on 14 relay teams. The LGMS is celebrating the beauty of Lake George, the sport of marathon swimming, and paying homage to the past. At 32 miles, this will be longest sanctioned single stage swim in the world in 2016.
In September, the swimmers, with their flotilla of 28 kayaks and 33 support boats will follow in the bubbles of other Lake George champions, starting with the first person to ever swim the entire lake, Diane Struble, who started in Ticonderoga at what is now known as “Diane’s Rock” and finished at the village docks in Lake George 35 hours and 30 minutes later.
Swimmers expect to raise $14,000 for charities, including $7,000 for local Lake George charities. For more info, visit lakegeorgeswim.com.
Bob Singer (firstname.lastname@example.org) of Queensbury is the 2016 Lake George Marathon Swim event director. He’s a recently retired aquatic ecologist in environmental consulting and university teaching, and is an avid Masters swimmer, certified USA Swimming and YMCA official and experienced escort kayaker.