Swimmers compete in the Bill Reeve Echo Lake Swim on Aug. 13 at Echo Lake in Mount Desert. Locals had a strong showing in the event, which was held at Camp Beech Cliff at the southern end of the lake. ISLANDER PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELL

YMCA hosts Echo Lake Swim

MOUNT DESERT — Calm and clear as could be, the water at the south end of Echo Lake on Saturday was ripe for a swim.

Down the steep hill and winding steps that separate Beech Hill Road from the shore, nearly 50 swimmers gathered on a barge for one of eastern Maine’s biggest outdoor swim competitions. Yet even though swimmers came from all over the state and other parts of the country to compete, local competitors stole the show.

Residents from Bar Harbor and elsewhere in Hancock County were among the top competitors Saturday at the Down East Family YMCA’s Bill Reeve Echo Lake Swim. The strong local showings highlighted an excellent day on the water at Echo Lake, where the sunny weather provided for a much better setting than last year’s rainy event.

“It was a great day for it,” DEFY swim coach Matt Montgomery said. “The weather actually turned out to be pretty good, which is sure more than we could say last year.”

Ellsworth’s Kristy Barry claimed the first win of the day with a win in the 500-yard swim. The incoming freshman at Ellsworth High School reached the dock in 6 minutes, 23.07 seconds in what would be just the first of her two event wins.

As for the MDI competitors, Bar Harbor’s Puranjot Khalsa also broke the seven-minute barrier to finish third with a time of 6:56.50. University of Maine art professor and Mount Desert resident Rob Pollien took sixth with a time of 7:47.68, and Stanley Yang of Bar Harbor placed 12th with a time of 10:23.46.

The day’s second competition, the 1.5-mile swim, included swimmers from California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York.

Sam Pelletier of Ellsworth separated himself from the pack to win the race in 35:59.19, more than three and a half minutes ahead of second-place finisher Emma Farnham of Winslow.

Khalsa produced a second strong showing in the 1.5-miler, which she completed in 40:07.30 to take third once again. Ron Korstanje of Bar Harbor (seventh), Yang (17th), M.J. Penn of Southwest Harbor (20th), Laura Anderson of Bar Harbor (21st), Bill Shaw of Bar Harbor (22nd), Haley Saxenian of Mount Desert (26th) and Robert Keough, Christin Keough and Judith Blake, all of Bar Harbor (29th, 30th and 31st, respectively) rounded out the other island finishers.

The final event, the 1.5-mile relay swim, only had two competitors, but it was one for the books. Kristy Barry and Nick Partridge of Ellsworth finished with a combined time of 37:53.20 to set an Echo Lake Swim record in the event.

Caroline Mazgaj and Jordan Berry of Ellsworth formed the other relay duo. The two combined to finish the race in 48:17.25.

This year marked the 24th edition of the Echo Lake Swim, which is held annually in August in honor of Bill Reeve, a former United States Master Swimmer who swam at the Down East Family YMCA.

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