Bridgette Hobart - Lake Hopatcong perimeter
Clockwise perimeter including coves (except Venetian Canals section).
39.6 km (24.6 miles)
15 hours, 20 minutes on 30 June 2018
Observed and documented by Susan Kirk
- Name: Bridgette Hobart
- Gender: female
- Age on swim date: 55
- Nationality: United States
- Resides: Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey, USA
- kayak escort: Bob Janeczko
- boat pilots: Garry Manz, Ryan MacDonald
- support crew: Scott Jenkins, Kim Plewa, Kevin Thomas, John Malley, Jared Malley, Nov Sahu
- observer/documenter: Susan Kirk
Escort Vessel: Sweetwater (18’ pontoon boat, Windlass Restaurant)
- Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.
- Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
- Equipment used: Regular textile swimsuit, silicone cap, goggles, sunscreen, Aquaphor, Boudreux’s butt paste (40% zinc), glow stick in morning darkness.
- Body of Water: Lake Hopatcong
- Route Type: perimeter
- Start & Finish Location: Windlass Restaurant, Nolans Point Park Rd, Hopatcong, NJ (40.948684, -74.628604)
- Minimum Route Distance: 39.6 km (24.6 miles)
- Start: 30 June 2018, 03:41:00 (America/New_York, UTC-7).
- Finish: 30 June 2018, 19:01:07
- Elapsed: 15 hours, 20 minutes, 7 seconds.
Summary of Conditions
|Water Temp (F)||73||81|
|Air Temp (F)||61||90|
Trackpoint frequency: 1 minute. Download raw data (CSV).
Nutrition: Recoverite mixed with water & Endurolytes fizz in water every 30 minutes. Occasional Gaviscon as needed.
I’ve lived on the northern tip of Lake Hopatcong in Brights Cove since August 1999. When I started swimming again at age 45, I did a lot of my training on the lake and in my cove. I have a half mile traffic free loop in our cove, but we ventured out on the main lake for most of our training. I also host an open water swim event on the lake. After focusing on my Triple Crown, I wanted to focus on the NY Finger Lakes and then Lake Hopatcong. I grew up in the Finger Lakes, and now reside on Lake Hopatcong. Even vacationing, my preference has always been a lake over the shore, so I wanted to continue with my focus on lake swimming.
In 2018 I founded Dogged Perseverance, Inc., a NJ non-profit entity, to focus on events and solo swims as fundraising for various charities. In 2016, at the age of 51 my husband, Bob Janeczko, fulfilled his long-time dream of becoming a volunteer firefighter. Through this process and his on-going volunteering, I became aware of the fundraising the volunteer firefighters did to raise funds for their basic needs. Additionally, I see first hand the commitment these first responders give to the community. Bob is also a member of the water rescue and dive teams, and they’ve been raising funds for their new fireboat.
The last few years have been a difficult challenge for me personally for many reasons, and while I still swam my training was not nearly what it was historically, and I felt emotionally drained. However, swimming is the one thing that has given me balance in my life and I didn’t want to feel that was being taken from me. I decided I wanted to focus on a long swim and do my best, even though I knew I was going into it under trained. I decided I would rather fail then not try at all, as then I felt I was letting the challenges overtake me and win. This swim to me was a sign of me taking back my life and moving forward. I’m thankful to Susan Kirk and Kim Plewa who each came to Lake Hopatcong a few weeks pre- event for long swims, my first in approximately a year. I then did stage 1 of 8 bridges as a training swim, which beat me up pretty good. I withdrew from Stage 2 and opted to swim 6 hours on Lake Hopatcong and explore some of the shoreline for our swim. Historically, my body has always recovered quickly and did better when I challenged it. I hoped this was still the case as that was my main prep – shocking my body into long swims to where I left off a few years ago. My tendons took a hit, but I feel the 2 three hours back to back swims with Sue and Kim, followed by back to back 5-6-hour swims was key in my final prep. My arms were heavy, but I found my body responding as it did historically, and I was much more confident going into the swim.
I wanted to do this as a fundraiser for Bob’s fire department because he has supported me in all my swims and this was important to him. I also became very aware of the services JTFD2 gives to the community, which I wasn’t fully aware of before Bob became a volunteer. I thought others may feel the same and therefore, I thought bringing awareness to their efforts was an import part of the swim.
In planning the swim, my focus was on what was best for fundraising. We were blessed when Camp Six stepped up and offered to sponsor our efforts by hosting a Dine & Donate at the Windlass on June 30th, or a pre-holiday weekend. While this clearly wasn’t an ideal time to swim due to heavy boat traffic, it gave us our best fundraising potential. The other focus of the swim was to bring awareness in the community about Jefferson Township Fire Company 2. Many of the volunteer fireman were at the finish with equipment, and the ladder with the US Flag. This was also the day Miss Lotta hosts township veterans on a lake tour. Knowing this, I changed my swim attire and cap to red, white and blue suit with a Lady Liberty cap. I used red zinc to write JTFD2 on my back. I was mentally ready for the swim, and confident I’d succeed if my body held up and my feeds were consumed. Heat isn’t my strong point, so I knew that was critical.
Susan Kirk, one of the first people I met in open water swimming in NJ, agreed to be my official observer. Kim Plewa joined us on the water for a few hours as well. Bob kayaked for me, and then we needed boat pilots and other crew. Camp Six generously donated one of their boats for us to use as a crew boat all day, which really saved us a lot of time from not towing our boat back from Seneca Lake (NY). The boat was ready for us at the start and it magically disappeared at the finish. This is a tremendous help. Next up was boat pilots, as the lake has many coves and shallow, rocky areas. Someone knowing the lake is critical, especially when we started in the dark. I asked a long-time friend, Garry Manz, who had never even seen me swim and loves fast boats. I’m pretty sure he had no idea what he was signing up for, but he did not hesitate to say yes. He simply said “Sure, whatever you need, I’ll be there, just tell me when and where”. I said 2:30am on June 30th and I recall him saying “OK, so I will just stay up all night because I have like 30 people over for the fireworks the night before. You want to come hang with us for the fireworks?” I said thanks, but I was thinking of sleeping before the swim😊 Then I noted to myself- super, fireworks pre-swim, that should be great for sleeping! This was another sign I picked a bad date for a swim, but a great one for fundraising. The plan was for Garry to get us started and stay until 8am. The fire department then had volunteers sign up for 3-hour crew shifts, and Ryan MacDonald then piloted us from 8am to the finish. Again, I’m pretty sure no one had a clue what they were really signing up for, but again, there was no shortage of volunteers. This became a community swim, and that alone carried me through this swim. I’m not a fan of heat, and on top of the busy lake we had a 90-degree heat wave. Being a shallow lake, the water warms quickly. While the heat got me, I still felt the community support pushing me along and for that, I’ll always be thankful I chose likely the worst day to swim. We raised approximately 5k for JTFD2! The Dine & Donate was a huge success with 2 hour waiting lines to eat, and we were greeted at the finish by many fireman and community supporters. Overall, a swimmer can’t ask for more.
The following is a picture narrative of our day, which was 15 hours and 20 minutes of swimming.
We started at The Windlass on Nolan’s Point. We met up at 2:30am with the plan of leaving at 3am. We finally started at 3:41am. We had no issues at the start, I’m just not speedy is all and I yap a lot.
We also saw boats still coming home from the night before and thought best to let them clear the water for safety reasons.
This is a shot of our start on Nolan’s Point and our early morning start. We left Nolan’s Point going south.
Sunrise came quickly, and we were blessed with cooler air and water temps of low to mid 70s. I enjoyed the peaceful morning. I took in the spectacular sunrise on my feeds.
Making our way to the most southern tip of Lake Hopatcong. We were blessed with calm waters, minimal boat traffic in the early hours of the day. Being a pre-holiday weekend, with one of the first dry warm weekends, we expected this would soon change.
Just wrapping up the 5:11am feed. Felt great and enjoying the peaceful morning.
Heading towards the Yacht Club.
Heading towards Lakes End. The very most southern tip of the lake.
At the Lake Hopatcong State Park, southern tip of the lake. It is now almost 7:30am and I’m still feeling great. Pace was better than expected. Stroke count good, feeds good. Once I hit the other shoreline and turn right, I know I am now heading up the western shoreline to the most northern tip, which is where we live.
I only breathe on my right, but I still couldn’t miss this site and I had to stop and ask Bob when they built new condos on the lake. As usual, the reply was ‘just keep swimming’😊
This was one of my favorite parts of the swim, River Styx. I’d never been into this area except once when we first moved to the lake. I managed to get lost on the lake with a boat full of folks at a party and discovered there are many coves and bridges, and this was not my Rt 181 Bridge. Looking back, it is comical I even thought that (you’ll see soon enough why). It took me hours to find home again and I never explored again, which I now regret. River Styx has stunning water with cold springs, and it is deep. Our timing was perfect on the bridge as another fire company was there to honor Miss Lotta’s arrival with the Veterans on board. This was a very special moment for all of us on this swim.
This is about the only time Bob has ever stopped me swimming, so I could take in a moment. This was just spectacular to watch from the water. I still felt great and it really energized me. It’s about 10am.
It is approximately noon and we’ve reached Byram Cove area! I’m familiar with this area and knew when I hit it that we’d be more than half way. I suffer a lot from acid reflux and it generally impacts my feeds. I really struggled with feeds on Stage 1 of 8 Bridges this year and the following day, as well as my long training swim with Susan pre 8B. She introduced me to Gaviscon and I remembered that after stage 1 and we hit the pharmacy. I’ve declared that stuff a miracle worker and I recommend their stock as I’ll be consuming lots of it. When we hit Byram Cove I was feeling good and knew we were more than half way and it dawned on me that I have not had any acid reflux yet. I took Gaviscon the morning of the swim. I decided to take it again to prevent it as I knew with the heat I needed to ensure I got fluids in me. My feed plan was simple – every 30 minutes Hammer Recoverite and Hammer Endurolytes Fizz with water. I use Recoverite because of the 3:1 carb protein ration and they use whey protein which agrees with me, where as their endurance products generally use soy, which doesn’t agree with me. Therefore, I found using their recovery product during my swim worked well. At this point I felt my feed plan was going great and my reflux was being managed. Life was good. And then it wasn’t. When we left the cove, it was great timing for boat traffic in all directions between jet skis, wake boarding, tubing, just zooming along. Being a bulk head lake, the waves have no where to go. It is also narrow in most areas, so boats are circling. I find this not only tough on the body, but it generally slows me down. I swim more carefully to protect my shoulders, but I also struggling to find balance and a rhythm. I can’t seem to grab water, but fortunately I am not prone to sea sickness. I really felt for my crew though as they were bouncing in all directions in their 18’ pontoon boat.
And the boats have arrived! You must do your best to navigate around them and rely on your kayak escort and crew to protect you from them. I’m so used to listening for boats when training on the lake, so hearing so many made it tough to relax.
Heading to Pine Tree Point – approx. 12:30 now. The chop from winds and boat traffic is now surfacing and the water is pushing 80 with air at 86. I am missing our lovely morning.
Cow Tongue Point. One of the best parts of planning this swim was discovering the names of so many points, coves, bays on the lake. When just out and about my focus is usually where is the no wake and rock warnings, so planning the swim really educated me on all the wonderful areas of Lake Hopatcong. This is a state-owned lake, which many people don’t know. The Lake Hopatcong Foundation has put significant effort into raising funds and awareness to protect the lake and get the state to fund as well. One difference I noted was in the weeds. More resources are allocated to weed harvesting, and I felt the difference. I really didn’t run into many weed issues during the entire swim. There were a few very shallow areas with weeds, but it was minimal.
We are coming upon 2pm and this is where I went wrong in this swim. My Gaviscon was my miracle worker and my elbow tendons were having issues. The warmer water wasn’t helping with inflammation either, so I decided since Gaviscon is working so well then, I bet it will do wonders if I use it as a chaser after some Advil. I requested Advil, something I haven’t done in many years of swimming due to reflux issues. Lesson learned here is Gaviscon is not designed to be a chaser. I am now consuming more Gaviscon than other feeding, which isn’t a good sign. Once reflux kicks in I struggle to swallow anything, so my hope was a few Gaviscon focused feeds and I’d be back on track. This was not one of my finer feed plans. My stroke rate and energy begin to show the impact of this mistake. I was peeing less and I’m one that obsesses over peeing, so I was fully aware. I then started just trying to get water in me. At this point I feel like a lobster boiling in a pot and my head was throbbing from the heat. We approached Main Lake Market and that was a huge milestone for us. This meant we just had the Woodport section of the lake left and once we returned to Brady Bridge, we were nearly finished. This also meant I was swimming in the area I was most familiar with as I consider it my ‘home turf’. A common training swim is to Main Lake Market and back. My nerves were rattled at Main Lake Market area when I suddenly heard my crew yelling and Bob cut me off in the kayak. I stopped to see a boat coming at me without a driver. I then see the driver take the wheel and still not make eye contact, as his phone had his attention. Once they realized the issue, they quickly got control and apologized but I admit, it did rattle me. I began to feel a bit cranky from lack of fuel and the heat, but I also felt I was staying positive and happy swimming. I was looking forward to swimming past my house and seeing my doggies. My friend, Neile and my neighbor, Brett both were watching our tracker and timing us to get the dogs out. I also had neighbors who said they’d be out to support us, so we had a lot to look forward to and that was my focus to get me through the end. We also had a lot of community support on boats, bridges and shorelines rooting us on. I felt I was being carried by their support and my crew’s efforts, which was a great feeling. I also began to think perhaps I shouldn’t have joked around with the fire department when they wanted to give Bob an oxygen tank to keep on our crew boat, just in case needed😊
Brady Bridge was tough to get through because we were going against traffic and needed to yield to the other boats coming through. I worried about stopping for too long as I was feeling heavy arms, but we lucked out and a few on jet skis saw us and stopped the traffic at the bridge so we could go through- much appreciated.
It is exciting when you start passing your own turf. This is Mason Street Pub, or the place a bunch of us swimmers attempted to get out of the water using jet ski lifts one cold rainy day for breakfast- not a good sight. This is also the last restaurant on the western shore before we hit our Brights Cove, also known as home! We started to feel southern winds which were appreciated now, but also told me as I left our cove to the finish we’d have headwinds added to the boat chop in the Woodport section of the lake, which is very narrow.
We made it to Brights Cove, the most northern tip of the lake and where we live! This was great fun. I could hear many neighbors cheering us on and the below are some of their pics. And then Neile had Woody out to see me as we passed our dock. I chatted a bit with Neile and Brett, said hi to Woody and then kept moving as the ladder on the dock did look rather inviting. I so wanted an ice-cold shower at this point! I was really starting to feel the heat and lack of solid feeds from reflux, and I knew the home stretch was going to be headwinds and significant chop.
A good shot of Lady Liberty on my cap.
And we’re now leaving Bright’s Cove.
This is the Rt 181 Bridge I referred to when we were at River Styx. As you can likely see, they look absolutely nothing alike. Yet I confused these bridges when we first moved to the lake in 1999 and got lost for hours on the lake (and this was before cell phones worked well up here). And therefore, a swimmer should never put me in charge of their navigation, but I love to crew! Just FYI – I’m no better on the road either!
Neile was on Rt 181 Bridge and I was swimming and yelling to her at the same time or attempting too. These are some of my fav pics and I left Brights Cove feeling drained but happy. We’re moving on to our homestretch.
I started to laugh so I turned over to do backstroke and yell more to Neile.
We’re now starting our home stretch down the eastern shore of the lake. Outside of our cove is Stone Water – stunning architecture and fabulous meals. This made me realize I was hungry and I really needed to make a better effort to get something in me. My focus became water as it is apparent I can swim off my body fat for quite some time😊
After we left the marina area and entered the Woodport section of the lake, we were greeted by so much boat activity and head winds. This felt a bit defeating. Bob took me off course and into a bitty cove figuring swimming more distance was more beneficial than the headwinds and boat chop. I stopped to feed here and tried to get something down. I then saw Garry was up from his nap (kidding Garry) and had joined us again on his jet ski. He was attempting to navigate us through the traffic and to cheer me up with words of encouragement. I remember hearing ‘you are almost there, you got this’. I could hear my crew rooting for me, Susan yelling for me to DRINK! As we left the cove reality quickly set in and I knew the end would be a battle, as I hadn’t peed in awhile and the heat was taking a toll on me. I’m generally through Woodport in an hour during training, but I realized I also wasn’t doing just Woodport. We had one more cove to swim in and out of, and that cove would be shallow and likely very warm! But coming out of it was Brady Bridge again, and this time it was the final pass under the Bridge and we were within sight of Nolan’s Point, our finish! As we approached Brady Bridge I could see the congestion and Bob yelled to me to cross over and follow him. This was my one very cranky moment. I said no I wasn’t going to swim off course, and I wanted to just finish. He firmly said, “so you would rather get run over by a boat then swim an extra 20 yards?” Ugh, I hate it when he is right, and my head went back down, and my arms started moving. We needed to cross over to flow with boat traffic, then back over once through the bridge to get back on course.
We’re now under Brady Bridge and just past JFTD2 Boat House, and we’re exiting the no wake zone and in clear sight of The Windlass.
My final stop, which was at our sponsor’s home. They came out to cheer us on and I stopped to say hi and thank them. I was starting to feel the energy of the finish, yet also very depleted.
As we approached and prepared for our landing, I first noticed the ladder truck with the American Flag hanging. Excitement and energy returned to my body, yet you’d never know looking at the video at the finish. I was depleted and wobbly, but I was extremely grateful for my wonderful crew and support carrying me through to our successful completion.
We chose the ladder against the sea wall to start and finish vs a dock, as the land won’t move in the future. I had very wobbly sea legs, much more than usual. I’ve never finished a long swim on a ladder, so I hoped for the best. Susan was yelling for me to clear the water, but I was trying to take my final pee before doing so and without yelling I was doing so😊 Ends up that isn’t easy to do when you are dehydrated and in front of folks. So up the ladder I go.
And I remember pulling hard to get up using both hands to balance myself. Everything was spinning. I got up and raised my hand quickly to signal I had cleared the water and was done, and then boom. I just remember going backwards and I couldn’t grab anything.
We completed our swim adventure at 7:01pm, or 15 hours 20 min and 7 seconds. A long hot but fun day!
And Firefighter Lou quickly came to my rescue. He kindly grabbed me to stabilize me. Thank you Lou!
I had to sit for a few minutes to stabilize myself, and then I felt fine. Susan continued to nicely hound me to drink, but at that point I just looked at fluids and went blah. I paid the price for that move about 30 minutes later, as symptoms of dehydrations further crept into me. It wasn’t a fun night and I only stayed about an hour at the Dine & Donate. It was a great experience and mostly I enjoyed watching the community come out to support our fundraising efforts, and so many volunteer firefighters were on hand during the event and at the dine and donate function. They gave the community an opportunity to talk with them, and everyone to have a good time celebrating our lake.
Many thanks to my kayaker extraordinaire, Bob, Observer Susan Kirk, Garry Manz for staying up all night to start us off and for coming out on his jet ski to monitor our safety, Kim Plewa for coming out to support swim and help Susan for a few hours, to Ryan MacDonald who piloted for 11 hours, and to firefighters Kevin Thomas, Scott Jenkins, John & Jared Malley and Nov Sahu for rotating on our crew. Without a kayak escort and crew, no swimmer can be successful. Without an observer, you can’t document your swim. Your efforts were greatly appreciated. And to all the community & firefighter support on the water, on shorelines and at The Windlass -many thanks! And to Camp Six and related entities – we can’t thank you enough for sponsoring our event and hosting our Dine & Donate. You not only did so much for us, but you do so much for Lake Hopatcong and the community overall – much appreciated!
- Woman completes Lake Hopatcong swim (New Jersey Herald)