Local roundup: Rivard readying for English Channel swim attempt

  • Vera Rivard, left, and her sister, Margaret, are quarantining in Dover, England, in advance of Vera's anticipated English Channel swim next week. Courtesy photograph—

Staff Reports
Published: 8/19/2020 2:33:23 PM
Modified: 8/31/2020 10:03:12 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Upper Valley Aquatic Club athlete Vera Rivard and her family are quarantining in England, with the 16-year-old Rivard hoping to attempt a crossing of the English Channel next week.

Rivard, of Springfield, N.H., arrived in the coastal town of Dover on Aug. 8 for a mandatory two-week coronavirus isolation prior to her attempt. She has a window of Aug. 24-29 in which to complete the 21-mile crossing to the coast of France, but she’ll only have a few hours’ notice before she can begin.

“I am constantly being asked why I do this. Why are you trying this when you are so young? Why swim so far, or why swim in such cold water?” Rivard said in a recent UVAC news release. “I only have one answer: Because I love it! I feel it is what I am meant to do. I feel completely ‘me’ when I am in the open water.”

Because the Channel is a major shipping lane, a swim crossing requires considerable planning and expense. The captain of the boat serving as support, Peter Reed, decides if and when Rivard will depart on her swim, which history says will take between seven and 28 hours.

Rivard, 16, is in the midst of completing open-water swimming’s three biggest events. She swam the 20 Bridges of Manhattan Island, a 28½-mile circumnavigation of the New York island, in July, finishing in just under eight hours. She also hopes to do the 20-mile ocean swim to California’s Santa Catalina Island in the near future.

The family hopes to update Rivard’s progress on Facebook and Instagram. Rivard may also be tracked at the Channel Swimming Association website.

AUTO RACINGGray takesBRS Mod madness

BRADFORD, Vt. — Sportsman Modified leader Jason Gray won one of three 33-lap races and topped the final finish list of Saturday’s Madness Night event for the division at Bear Ridge Speedway.

The final order was determined by points awarded for finishes in the three-segment event.

Gray won the first race, was second behind James Fadden in the second and third in the final segment, won by Jordan Fornwalt, to take the night.

Thomas Placey (Sportsman Coupes), George Osgood (Late Models), Brandon Gray (Dirt Stockers), Buddy Welch (Four Cylinders) and Will Hull (Sprints) also won.

Willis wins CMP Mods

CLAREMONT — Grantham’s Mike Willis won his first open-wheel feature of the summer, taking the Modified main event at Claremont Motorsports Park on Friday night.

Sunapee’s Mike Smith had the early lead only to see Willis pass him five laps in. With no cautions the rest of the way, Willis cruised to the feature victory ahead of Smith and Brian Robie.

Friday’s other feature winners: Aaron Fellows (Late Model Sportsmen), Desmond Skillings (Mini Stocks), Zach Richardson (Pure Stocks) and Jeremy Blood (Six Shooters).


James Fadden, of Corinth, won the second segment of the three-part Madness night event for the Sportsman Modified division at Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, Vt., on Saturday night. An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the second-segment winner.

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