Participants of the 21st Annual Bill Reeve Echo Lake Swim are all smiles after completing the 500-yard swim on Saturday, Aug. 15, at Camp Beech Cliff. PHOTO BY AMANAT KHULLAR

Sam Manhart wins both Echo Lake swims

MOUNT DESERT — Sam Manhart of Hamden was the top finisher in both the 500-yard and 1.5-mile events at Saturday’s 21st annual Bill Reeve Echo Lake Swim.

Manhart completed the 500-yard swim in a time of 5:38.22, finishing seconds ahead of runner-up Sam Alvarado, who posted a time of 5:44. Valerie Shaw of Connecticut was first among female swimmers to touch the dock finish line in 6:58.95.

The top female finisher in the 1.5-mile race was Bangor resident Hannah Wood with a time of 37 minutes, 33.80 seconds.

“It’s a great opportunity to get swimmers from all over to come to a beautiful location and have a healthy family activity,” said Down East Family YMCA swim coach Matt Montgomery. “It’s multi generational.”

The event was first organized by Bill Reeve when he challenged a small group of swimmers from Ellsworth and Bar Harbor to swim outdoors. Dressed in a white T-shirt from the first edition of the event, Reeve was present to cheer for the participants and helped hand out awards at the end of the event.

The swimming event has grown over the years and now attracts swimmers from throughout the country, who schedule their Maine vacations around it.

This year, 70 swimmers with ages ranging from 7 to 78 braved the cold water and donned yellow caps to compete in the annual race.

Several volunteers helped with registration and in rescue boats and kayaks.

This year’s event was sponsored by Clarke Construction, Berry Dunn Accounting and the Down East Family YMCA.

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Amanat Khullar

Amanat Khullar

Amanat Khullar is a sports reporter for the Mount Desert Islander. She comes from New Delhi, the capital city of India and graduated from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

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