Traversing Lake George, the long way, to fight polio

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Louise Beckerle Rourke and Bridget Simpson are two people who should be on your radar.

Besides their other accomplishments in life, they are planning to raise funds for Rotary’s ongoing global fight against polio by doing something few people have done: Swim the 32-mile length of Lake George!

They’ll do it by swimming a two-person relay in five-mile increments over 24 hours, sharing the first and last miles on their way to Diane’s Rock. The event is weather dependent, so the swim will take place either July 30-31 or August 1-3.

Donations are being sought, either from individuals in any amount, or from clubs and organizations at various sponsorship levels from $100 to $1,000. Proceeds will go to Rotary International’s global polio eradication program. (Click here for details.)

Meet Louise

Louise is a retired teacher from Porter Corners who contracted polio at six months of age, resulting paralysis of her right leg.  Her family was fortunate to have a camp on Lake George where she spent every summer swimming and enjoying the beautiful lake. She has always been a swimmer, feeling more graceful in the water than on land.  However, she didn’t let the effects of polio prevent her from pursuing any interests. For example, she learned to alpine ski using outriggers.

Louise  remembers that when she was just four years old she learned of Diane Struble’s swim of Lake George and dreamed that perhaps someday she could do the same. She has been preparing for the swim throughout the year by swimming at the Saratoga YMCA.

Meet Bridget

Bridget has been an open water swimmer since 1999, and has participated in swims in Lake Champlain, the Chesapeake Bay, the Potomac River, the Hudson River, and off the Caribbean island of St. Croix, and supported many causes. Through teaching swimming, coaching and leading group fitness classes, Bridget has encouraged and been inspired by swimmers of all ages and skill levels for 28 years, and she has many more goals in mind.

She swam Lake George to celebrate turning 50. People told her afterward they could not imagine swimming for that long. She told everyone that we all need to find our own adventures that bring a sense of accomplishment.  We all get to set our own goals and we get to decide how we define success.


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