Pleasant day for a swim-a-thon

 

GETTING AN ARM UP on fundraising — In 2006 Ron Burd swam the four-mile length of Pleasant Lake. This week, at age 70, Burd will swim while his wife accompanies him in a kayak from Otisfield Beach to Casco Beach. (Photo courtesy of Ron Burd)

GETTING AN ARM UP on fundraising — In 2006 Ron Burd swam the four-mile length of Pleasant Lake. This week, at age 70, Burd will swim while his wife accompanies him in a kayak from Otisfield Beach to Casco Beach. (Photo courtesy of Ron Burd)

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Rio has nothing on the coves and curves, views of tree-covered mountains and the pristine water quality of Pleasant Lake.

While Olympian swimmers from many nations have congregated in the city of Rio de Janeiro, one very dedicated swimmer feels entirely at home in the waters of Pleasant Lake.

Ron Burd swam the length of the lake 10 years ago. Now, at age 70, he plans to swim the four-mile jaunt again.

“My wife will be escorting me in a kayak.

I tend to swim to my left, my port side,” Burd said. “She will be keeping me on the straight and narrow — as she has been doing for the past 44 years.”

A decade ago, Burd swam to raise money for the Pleasant Lake Parker Pond Lake Association (PLPPLA). At that time, the fundraising effort was for the association’s general fund, he said.

This upcoming week, the money raised from Burd’s swim will go toward the costs associated with replacing the Pleasant Lake Dam, he said.

The dam is located next to the building that formerly housed Hancock Lumber’s office. That failing infrastructure is the financial responsibility of the towns of Casco and Otisfield. Residents approved the funding for the dam replacement at both town meetings.

Meanwhile, PLPPLA members have pledged to help in any way possible.

So, sometime during the week of Aug. 22, Burd will swim to support the dam replacement which, in turn, supports the water quality of the two bodies of water connected by a channel called Lilly Brook.

The actual day and time has yet to be announced. The weather will play a factor in deciding which day is best, Burd said. He prefers a calm wind or a slight breeze.

ROLE MODEL for water conservation — In 2006, Ron Burd (at left) poses with Joel Bloom, the founder of the Pleasant Lake-Parker Pond Lake Association. In 2016, at age 70, Burd will once again swim the length of Pleasant Lake to raise money for the dam replacement. (Photo courtesy of Ron Burd)

ROLE MODEL for water conservation — In 2006, Ron Burd (at left) poses with Joel Bloom, the founder of the Pleasant Lake-Parker Pond Lake Association. In 2016, at age 70, Burd will once again swim the length of Pleasant Lake to raise money for the dam replacement. (Photo courtesy of Ron Burd)

In a move that demonstrates the shared ownership of the dam by two towns, Burd will begin his dam fundraising swim “from the Otisfield Beach and I’ll be coming out at the Casco Beach and then going to get Pear’s ice cream,” he said.

The length of the lake is slightly more than four miles long, he said.

So, how has Burd trained for the big day?

He swims about 1 and a half miles daily. He swims daily no matter where he is, or what the weather is like. His Pleasant Lake property was known as Camp Tall Timbers eons ago. Therefore, his “gym” is walking distance.

“Every day, I do my swim between the same two points. It’s never the same distance because I swim erratically,” he said.

His daily swims are preceded by the “biggest bowl of cereal you ever saw,” he said.

Burd commented on his adoration for swimming and his commitment to the lake association’s goals.

“It’s absolutely a combination: A passion for swimming and the fact that we believe we found a magical place 40 years ago. It’s for my grandchildren. This is the third generation to fall in love with the place here,” Burd said. “It’s important what the PLPPA does. Also, it’s for the friendships that have been made over the years,” he said.

“In talking to people who have known the lake for 60 years, they say the lake has maintained its pristine quality over the years,” he said.

Plus, the upcoming swim-a-thon is about setting a good example for the future generations.

“We talk to our grandchildren. We tell them that we are much more active than our grandparents were when they were our age.

People are taking care of themselves, being more active,” he said.

“Over the years, people have said to me, ‘It is great that you swim. You will add years to your life.’ I say, ‘That was never my intention. I swim because I love to swim,’ ” Burd said. “It’s an addiction: I have to swim and I love it.”

The PLPPLA President Peter Barber said he was impressed with Burd’s goal to swim the lake for the dam replacement.

“Ron Burd did swim it when he was 60. Now, he is 70, and he is going to swim it again. It’s to raise money for the lake association. He did well doing that 10 years ago, and he is eager to do it again,” Barber said.

“His personal desire is to raise money and use his terrific accomplishment of swimming for the last zillion years in a meaningful way,” Barber said.

To contribute to the lake association’s fundraiser to help with the costs of the Pleasant Lake-Parker Pond Dam replacement, go to www.pleasantlakeandparkerpond.org and click on contacts. People interested in seeing the swim can get on the lake association’s e-mail list so that they can be notified of the day and time of the swim-a-thon. Also, there is a donation jar at Pear’s Ice Cream & Hoagie Shop, located in Casco Village.

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