David Dammerman - Lake George

Ticonderoga to Lake George Village

32.2 miles

18 hours, 49 minutes on June 18-19, 2016

Observed and documented by Deborah Roberts


Swim Route

Length of Lake George, NY: 32.2 miles, from Ticonderoga, NY, to Lake George Village, NY. The long, thin lake is oriented mostly north-south, and his track followed a more or less straight line down the Lake and through some channels at the “Narrows,” the pinched middle of the Lake dotted with islands. The start and stop were at the historic starting point at “Diane’s Rock,” named after Diane Struble, who first swam the Lake in 1958 in 35 hours and 30 minutes, and the finish was at the Village dock where she finished. The seven people who preceded David since 1958 are believed to have followed this route. The previous best time was 21:26.

  • Route Type: one-way, non-stop
  • Start: Diane’s Rock, Ticonderoga, NY. 43°49’34.07”N, 73°25’34.45”W
  • Finish: Lake George Village Dock, 43°25’19.22”N, 73°42’40.65”W
  • Route Distance: 32.2 statute miles / 51.8 km

Support Personnel

  • Deborah Roberts, Official Observer
  • Roy Ketring, Boat Captain
  • Anne Green, Kayaker
  • Christopher Bowcutt, Kayaker
  • Robert Singer, Event Director (present at the start and finish but on another boat during the swim)


MSF Standard, no deviations or exceptions.

Swim Data

  • Start: June 18, 2016. 17:00:15 (EDT)
  • Finish: June 19, 2016. 11:54:37 (EDT)
  • Elapsed: 18 hours, 49 minutes, 22 seconds

Summary of Conditions

Great conditions, a cool wind came up 5-7AM. Water temperature average 68, but went from 77 in shallows at the start to about 65 in the “Narrows.” A full moon helped a lot.

  • Water Temp: 68F (low) - 74F (high)
  • Air Temp: 56F (low) - 85F (high)
  • Wind Speed: 0-12 mph S-SW
  • Other Notable Events: Nothing out of the ordinary. Small fish visible in the ultra-clear water, we heard loons at night. Several annoying passages near the finish by non-participating watercraft, with police protection from the Lake George Park Commission enforcement patrol. Note officers in the background on the dock in the photo after his finish in the Press Release.

GPS Track

Hourly trackpoint interval

  • Download original track data: CSV, KML

Speed per Trackpoint

Observer Log

By Deborah A. Roberts

Download original log (PDF)

Narrative Account

From Bob Singer, event director.

Two swimmers agreed to do this for us to “practice” our support for the upcoming Lake George Marathon Swim September 17-18, 2016. At that event we will have 14 solo swimmers and 14 relay teams. This will result in 89 swimmers, 28 kayaks, 33 powerboats, and over 200 volunteers on the water.

The swim was harder than we expected, despite near perfect conditions. David and the other swimmer were both very experienced. The other swimmer has swum farther and colder, including ice swims in the Arctic and Antarctic, but she started to slow during the night. By 5 AM it was apparent that she wasn’t going to finish in 24 hours. She was cold and tired after 13 hours and 14.6 miles.

David was faster, but he slowed down and thought of quitting a lot during the last eight miles. His stomach was upset and he missed some feeds toward the end, but said he was drinking lake water (it is drinking water quality) and was urinating regularly. Based on his Lake Memphremagog time, we originally projected his time at about 16 hours, so his near 19-hour finish demonstrated just how hard this was. He did the EC in 10:38, and didn’t find it cold at 62F, yet he said this was much harder. The extra 11 miles really took its toll. As organizers, we learned a lot to fine tune our logistics for our September event and greatly appreciating David’s commitment to our event. He will be on a boat in September and offering his expertise between now and then.


David Dammerman after swimming 32.2-mile Lake George, June 19, 2016 (photo courtesy George Stark).

David Dammerman crossing finish line after 32.2 mile Lake George Swim, June 19, 2016 (photo courtesy Bob Singer)

David Dammerman nearing the finish of the 32.2 miles of Lake George, June 19, 2016. Kayaker is Chris Bowcutt (photo courtesy Deb Roberts).

David Dammerman and kayaker Chris Bowcutt in the northern basin of Lake George, June 18, 2016 (photo courtesy Richard Timberlake).

David Dammerman and kayaker Anne Green north of Sabath Day Point, Lake George, June 18, 2016 (photo courtesy Richard Timberlake).

David Dammerman before the start of the Lake George Marathon, on “Diane’s Rock.” The brass plaque commemorating Diane Struble’s 1958 swim is visible over his left shoulder (photo courtesy Deb Roberts).

Press Release

June 20, 2016
Lake George Marathon Swim
Robert Singer

Local Swimmer Sets Record for Length of Lake George

David Dammerman, 47 years old, of Saratoga Springs, swam the 32.2 miles of Lake George in 18 hours, 54 minutes, and 22 seconds on June 18-19. This shattered the record of 21 hours and 26 minutes set by John Freihofer in 1981. He started at 5 PM on Saturday and finished at 11:54 AM on Sunday. The most recent successful non-stop swim of Lake George was by Lake Desolation resident Jerry Ferris in 1983. Dammerman joins Ferris in saying it was the hardest swim he’s ever done, and that comes following successful swims across the English Channel. Dammerman also holds the record for the fastest swim across the 25 miles of Lake Memphremegog, VT. Dammerman 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 80’s 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 10-15 MPH out of the south, resulting in moderate chop.

Dammerman 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 Betsy Owens cable swim in Lake Placid. His training involved swimming 5-6 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 (Queensbury), Anne Green (Bolton Landing), Chirs Bowcutt (Burnt Hills), and Roy Ketring (South Glens Falls).

Dammerman and his crew along with Race Director Robert Singer (Queensbury) and Co-Director Alex Meyer (2008 Olympic 10K swimmer and 15K world champion, Ithaca NY) are all planning the Lake George Marathon Swim, September 17-18, 2016. 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 in 14 relay teams. The Lake George Marathon Swim is celebrating the beauty of Lake George, the sport of marathon swimming, and paying homage to the past. 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. The September swim is being made possible by generous support from the Village of Lake George, Snug Harbor Marina, Shoreline Cruises, Adirondack Cardiology, and Roberts Environmental Consulting.

Past crossings of Lake George (courtesy Gwenne Rippon).

Date Swimmer Age Time
1958 Diane Struble 25 35:30:00
1962 Bill Stevens 31 31:27:00
1967 George Dempsey 17 32:15:00
1977 Stella Taylor 45 26:51:00
1981 John Freihofer Unknown 21:26:00
1983 Jerry Ferris 43 29:15:00
2016 David Dammerman 47 18:54.22

Download press release (DOCX)