Stories

Lady of the Lakes

Bridgette Hobart created the Finger Lakes Challenge and swam 156 miles to promote and bring awareness to Nazareth's new York Wellness and Rehabilitation Institute.

"Over the years I’ve watched my Mom recover from four joint replacements, my brother from one joint replacement, and my Dad most recently from a stroke. I saw first-hand the importance of rehabilitation for regaining quality of life," says Hobart. "I’m blessed with good health and physical fitness to do these swim challenges especially at my age (52).... I hope to inspire others to challenge themselves in whatever they have a passion for, and to live the best quality life they can."

"Best. Summer. Ever"

Bridgette Hobart Janeczko '84

Job: president, Paradigm Technology Consulting computer software firm

Grew up: Binghamton, N.Y.

Lives: Hopatcong, N.J.

At age 5: failed her first swim lesson because she didn't want to get her face wet

High school and college: competitive swimmer

2007: Her grandmother pulled out an article in which a teenage Bridgette said one day she hoped to swim across the English Channel.

At age 50, in 2013: Six hours into swimming the English Channel, she had to be pulled out after an allergic reaction to jellyfish stings.

At age 51, in September 2014: Swam the 21-mile English Channel from England to France, putting her among a small group who've completed the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming, which includes a 28.5-mile circle around Manhattan and a 21-mile swim from Santa Catalina Island to the California mainland.

June 2015: 7-day, 120-mile 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim

September 2015: Completed the 156-mile Nazareth Finger Lakes Challenge, swimming the length of the five major Finger Lakes and the four swimmable minors. She did it to draw awareness to the new York Wellness and Rehabilitation Institute at Nazareth College, which celebrated its grand opening in September 2015.

Age when she completed the Finger Lakes swim: 52

Toughest water: Seneca Lake was harder than the English Channel, because winds created difficult swimming conditions. "I came out a different person in Watkins Glen," she says.

Honor: On January 1, 2016, Open Water Swimming named her the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year for her unprecedented 9-stage, 156-mile solo swim through the Finger Lakes.

What's next: She'd like to swim Lake Ontario and Switzerland's Lake Geneva.

Bridgette Hobart Finger Lakes Challenge

Bridgette's husband, Bob Janeczko, crewed for every swim, paddling a kayak alongside her, providing her with food and water, and keeping her clear of boat traffic.

Finger Lakes Challenge

    Hobart '84 became the first person to swim the 9 swimmable Finger Lakes.
    Hobart '84 was accompanied by family, friends, and the Nazareth community during her swims.
    The Nazareth swim team welcomes Bridgette to the shore of Honeoye lake.