Diving into summer fun

Mark McCluskey fastest in 26th Hobbs Pond Swim

Other college competitors near top; Jones competes swim for 26th time
By Ken Waltz | Aug 11, 2017

Hope — Once a year, at the annual Hobbs Pond Swim, it is all about trying to keep up with the Joneses — or McCluskeys, Scotts and Garrigans.

Thus is the nature of the informal, but often quite competitive, swim, now in its 26th year.

The latest event was on Sunday morning, Aug. 6 and when the splashing had ceased, Mark McCluskey, 20, of Hope was the first finisher.

In fact, according to longtime participant Bill Jones of Hope, the event had a winner from Hope for the first time since 2009.

McCluskey, now a Howard University of Washington, D.C., swimmer, bested eight other young swimmers who worked from Hope Town Beach to the sunken truck axle and back in less than 11 minutes. The distance is about 500 yards.

Among the leaders was the last Hope winner, Penoboscot Bay Sailfish youth swim coach Lianne McCluskey, as well as Waldo County YMCA Bluefish youth swim coach Eryn Thostenson, as well as sisters Margaux and Ella Scott.

Three-time Hope winner Julian Abaldo, converted into a sprinter at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, finished fifth.

Bates College in Lewiston star-to-be and 2016 Hope runner-up Sam Alvorado, Abaldo’s Bowdoin teammate Killian Dickson, and 13-year-old Sadie Woodruff of Camden also were in the lead pack.

The “masters” element of senior swimmers was reduced this year.

Master swimmer Susan Rardin of Camden was closest to the leaders. Gill Munden and Hobbs Pond swim co-founder Jonathan Goodman followed.

Jones completed the swim for the 26th time.

The most-improved swimmer was Eddie Laudano, 13, grandson of Pepper Downing of Hope, who beat Jones soundly this year, after losing to him last year by allowing him to run out of the water faster.

Laudano and Woodruff were the youngest participants to complete the course without aids and Jones, at 80 years young, the oldest.

The Hobbs Pond swim is only a race for those who want it to be. Spouses swam together, as did the swim’s other founder, Jennifer Goodman and Fred Richards.

Parents swam with their children, as did Pen Bay Masters’ star Maureen Scott and her youngest, Audrey, and sisters Alison and Gwyneth Jones, and noodle-aided children Petra Jones-McKeon and Iris Jones Eckelman.

With the help of a life jacket, Jean Laudano shaved 35 seconds off last year’s unaided time.

For those who keep track, times generally were slower than last year, probably as a result of modest chop, Bill Jones said. No records were broken. No one took up the Hans Wendel Breaststroke Challenge this year. All participants used a version of the crawl.

Water temperature was 78 degrees. Among the spectators was Rep. Paula Sutton, who presented a certificate from the Maine State Legislature. She wished she had brought her swimsuit, Bill Jones said.

The entire production, as always, depended on a host of volunteers: Mary McCluskey as starter; Judith Jones and Sapphire Roth as registrars; Sheri and Mario Abaldo, Mary McCluskey and Judith Jones as timers and record-keepers; Adam Scott for setting up and taking down the course; Doug Roth for providing buoys and rigging; the McCluskeys for posting and removing signs; and a host of spotters: Kate Richards, Mary Ireland, Adam Scott, Julia Laudano, Ed Laudano Jr., Jim Downing, Lizzie Benjamin and Sue Wootton, among others.

Karen Furlong, the Goodman-Richardses and Judith Jones organized the post-swim social and potluck at Hope Town Library in the Hope Town Office.

The individual results, with place, name of swimmer, age, town and time listed, were: 1, Mark McCluskey, 20, Hope, 8:01; 2, Killian Dickson, 19, Friendship, 8:10; 3, Samuel Alvorado, 18, Lamoine, 8:23; 4, Lianne McCluskey, 25, Hope, 8:27; 5, Julian Abaldo, 18, Union, 9:06; 6, Ella Scott, 20, Hope, 9:41; 7, Sadie Woodruff, 13, Camden, 9:45; 8, Margaux Scott, 21, Hope, 10:32; 9, Eryn Thostenson, 24, Belmont, 10:45; 10, Susan Rardin, 67, Camden, 12:22; 11, Gillead Munden, 41 Rockland 13.00; 12, Jonathan Goodman, 55, Providence, R.I., 13:08; 13, Audrey Scott, 14 Hope 13.17; 14, Maureen Scott, 46, Hope, 13:17; 15, Eddie Laudano, 13, Hope and Wallingford, Conn., 13:29; 16, Bill Jones, 80, Hope, 13:48; 17, R. Weine, 62, Union, 13:53; 18, Hannah Raymond, 33 Searsmont, 14:06; 19, Mollie Brosnan, 32, Rockport, 14:27; 20, Andrew Carpenter, 51, Belfast, 14:43; 21, Amy Root, 46, Hope, (started late) 16:01; 22, Jennifer Goodman, 53, Concord, N.H., 23:21; 23, Fred Richards, 63, Concord, N.H., 23:21; 24, Jean Laudano, 52, Hope and Wallingford, Conn., 24:19 (with life jacket); 25, Iris Jones Eckelman, 8, Roslindale, Mass., 33:19 (with noodle); 26, Gwyneth Jones, 38, Roslindale, Mass., 33:24; 27, Alison Denton Jones, 40, Somerville, Mass., 35:11; and 28, Petra Jones-McKeon, 8, Somervillre, Mass., 35:15 (with noodle).

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Ken Waltz
Sports Director
594-4401, extension 114
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Ken Waltz has been a media member 35 years and has received hundreds of Maine Press Association and New England Press Association awards for his writing, photography and page design. He has an associate degree in law enforcement and studied journalism at the University of Maine in Orono. He lives in South Thomaston with his wife, Sarah. The couple has an adult son, Brandon, who lives in North Carolina with his wife, Hannah. Ken loves to golf, ride his motorcycle, exercise at the YMCA and follow his beloved Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins. He also has had a lifelong passion for the mysterious and all things paranormal/cryptozoological.

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