Cheryl Coletti-Lawson - Newfound Lake

South - North - South

19.7 km (12.2 miles)

8 hours, 41 minutes on 1 July 2020

Observed and documented by Guy Davis

First swim of this route



  • Name: Cheryl Coletti-Lawson
  • Gender: female
  • Age on swim date: 53
  • Nationality: United States
  • Resides: Henniker, New Hampshire

Support Personnel

  • Scott Lawson - pilot
  • Bob Fernald - coach / crew
  • Larry Linden - support swimmer / crew
  • Andrea Hrynchuk - kayaker / crew
  • Guy Davis - observer

Escort Vessel: Four Wins (Pierce Lake, Hillsboro, NH)

Swim Parameters

  • Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.
  • Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
  • Equipment used: Speedo Endurance+ solid flyback training suit, Aquasphere goggles, swim cap, earplugs

Route Definition

South shore (beach in front of Big Catch restaurant), between Mayhew Island and Pikes Point, to North shore (beach opposite Sleepy Hollow Lane), return to South shore via same route.

  • Body of Water: Newfound Lake
  • Route Type: two-way
  • Start Location: Beach fronting the Big Catch restaurant. Shore Drive, Bristol, NH. (43.620018, -71.733851)
  • Turnaround Location: Beach at northwest end of lake. N. Shore Road, opposite Sleepy Hollow Lane, Hebron, NH. (43.700988, -71.782085)
  • Minimum Route Distance: 19.7 km (12.2 miles) (map)


No known previous swims of this route.

Swim Data

  • Start: 1 July 2020, 05:28 (Eastern Daylight - America/New_York, UTC-4).
  • Finish: 1 July 2020, 14:08
  • Elapsed: 8 hours, 41 minutes, 30 seconds.

Summary of Conditions

Feature Min Max
Water Temp (F) 73 74
Air Temp (F) 63 76
Wind (knots) 0 5

GPS Track

Trackpoint frequency: 15 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).

Click to expand map.

Speed Plot

Nutrition: After one hour, then every half hour: carb drink, occasional water, GU, maple syrup packs, and homemade solids.

Observer Log

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Note from Observer Guy Davis

I asterisked the witness statement because of the following proviso.

The swim route passes through a channel between an island-like peninsula from the land on the East side of the lake and into the lake called Pikes Point and an island called Mayhew Island in the lake. The channel is about 125m wide at its narrowest point and the kayaker and the swimmer could safely swim through the channel. However, this is an area of shallow water with some rocks and, although some pontoon boats and Jetskis use the channel, it is unsafe for conventional boat traffic (and marked as such in the lake). For this reason, the pilot boat accompanied the swimmer and kayaker to the entry to the channel, and then detoured around Mayhew Island to re-join the swimmer on the other end of the channel on each of the two swimmer passages through the channel. After the swim I confirmed with the kayaker (Ms. Hrynchuk) that the swimmer swam continuously and unassisted through the channel for each passage. I noted in the Observer Log these two periods when we were detouring around Mayhew Island.

To time the swim I used the stopwatch app on an Andriod Google pixel phone. The time recorded from start to finish was 8 hours 41 minutes and 30.1 seconds.

To make Lat/Long recordings, I used the “Cockpit Aid” app on the phone. I relied on one of the other crew members for the data to record the temperatures and other weather conditions.

Mr. Linden and I took a number of photos throughout the swim and I understand that Ms. Coletti-Lawson will be submitting some of these to you, including photos of the start, turnaround and finish.

Although not originally planned as or primarily undertaken as a charity fundraiser swim, Ms. Coletti-Lawson at a late stage agreed with the “Swim with a Mission” (SWAM) to use the swim to participate in the organization’s “Virtual Swim” event. Coincidentally this swim was done right at the start of the July window for the virtual event, which this year replaces their very large fundraiser event which would normally take place at Newfound Lake at around this time. The SWAM organization was able to gain some local publicity for the swim and some valuable PR for their virtual event. A senior representative of SWAM met Ms. Coletti-Lawson at the finish, and had earlier been on call as the informal emergency support boat, including meeting our group at the turnaround point to support the swim and the swimmer.

Observer Background

  • Previous marathon swim observing experience: Observed and Reported Susan Knight’s “Search for Memphre” swim in Sept 2018.
  • LongSwimsDB profile. Also Champion of Champions Dover BLDSA (UK) 2019; Multiple times pool lifeguard training in the UK (STA) and in US (at Portsmouth NH Indoor Pool) for swim team coaching, Former volunteer coach at Portsmouth New Hampshire Swim Team and Wandsworth Swim Club London UK.
  • Currently serving as Vice Chair of New England LMSC (USMS)
  • Currently serving as Vice Chair and temporarily acting Chair of the USMS Finance Committee
  • USMS bio:

Swimmer Statement

What inspired you to do this swim?

Newfound Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in New Hampshire. I wanted to attempt this double crossing as a training swim towards a bigger swim in August 2020 in Lake Memphremagog. For the past 3 years, this lake is home to the Swim with A Mission 1 day event. I have been unable to participate as my daughter always has a weekend lacrosse tournament. I was able to swim in this beautiful lake while attempting a distance that has never been done on the lake.

Please describe how you planned for the swim.

Training under the coaching tutoring of Bob Fernald. 10-12 ours of swimming weekly leading up to the event. Each week the volume of swimming remained the same, however the long swim increased each week. The last long swim was 10 days prior to the event for 7 hours.

How did the swim go, generally? Did you face any unanticipated challenges?

Generally the swim was incredible. We were mentally challenged with the weather and we made a game time decision at 8:00pm the night before the swim to actually swim the next day. The crew watched the weather the entire swim.


Click to enlarge.



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Appendix A: New Hampshire Covid considerations

New Hampshire lifted its “stay at home” order on June 29 allowing all businesses to reopen subject to restrictions. The order was replaced with a “safer at home” advisory. While we were not aware of specific guidelines for recreational boating in NH, we were conscious of the recommended limit of 10 people in social gatherings and the operating guidance that applied to a number of businesses, for example the guidance that was given for golf (chosen as an example of outdoor recreation) that “Guests should be prepared to bring their own clubs, and not allow anyone else to handle them. Guests should also be prepared to wear a mask or cloth face covering when around others in settings where social distancing may be difficult.”

Given this background, the swimmer and crew felt comfortable going ahead with the swim while adopting recommended and common sense Covid provisions. All of the swimmer and crew are residents of New Hampshire, known to each other, and had not traveled to higher case rate areas outside the state in the previous month. All confirmed that they had not experienced any Covid-like symptoms, including loss of taste or smell, prior to and at the time of the swim.

Other considerations were:


  • The boat is owned by the swimmer’s family and piloted by the swimmer’s spouse. It was sanitized before use.
  • The boat has an open deck, with no enclosed spaces, maximum 9 passengers, and no head. Crew and pilot were arranged 1 in the bow, 2 in mid boat and one in the stern to maximize social distancing. The bow section is separated from the rest of the boat by a windshield.
  • The boat had hand sanitizer on board for use during the swim.
  • Those on the boat brought masks for use when social distancing was difficult.

Emergency support

A support boat, operated by local lake resident and friend of the the swimmer (and senior representative of SWAM), was available on call during the swim in case of need to minimize likelihood of any need to call on emergency services.


Crew, observer and swimmer each brought their own equipment and food for use during the swim.