In the United States, swimming is the fourth most popular sports activity, and Rochester’s Bridgette Hobart Janeczko has been taking her swimming very seriously. According to a recent report from the Democrat and Chronicle, Janeczko is hoping to become the first person to swim the length of all 11 of the Finger Lakes.
“I grew up on the Finger Lakes, doing my first open water swim in 1979. It’s hard to train there and not want to swim them. It just screams, ‘Swim me,’” she said.
Janeczko swam across the English Channel in 2014, and just last month, swam 120 miles on the Hudson River. The Nazareth College alum wants to swim the length of the lakes to honor her alma mater and her former training site, as well as her family.
She started with Canandaigua Lake and cleared 15.5 miles in seven hours and 38 minutes. She’d predicted that the lake would take her a total of nine hours. Her husband Bob paddled alongside her in a kayak to escort her during the long journey. “It really couldn’t have gone better,” she said. “We had perfect weather and the water conditions were just as good.”
Even though Janeczko said she ran into some rough waters as boat traffic picked up later in the day, she “managed” just fine.
Family friend Don Beusman, 80, supported her from a pontoon boat nearby as she swam.
“She never faltered,” Beusman said. “I’ve never been so impressed with anything in my life. The stamina she had. When she finished, she wasn’t even breathing hard.”
Beusman added, “She’s so impressive. She believes in herself. She has strength, courage and stamina. She believes she can do it, and then she does.”
Janeczko hopes that she will inspire other Nazareth alumni to support the college’s new Wellness and Rehabilitation Institute, which will be opening some time in the fall. She also just hopes that she doesn’t sustain any injuries during her swims.
“My goal is not to get injured and to recover from week to week,” she said. “This was a great start to a long challenge.”