SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – A woman from South Hadley is making her final stretch to completely swim the entire length of the Connecticut River.

In 2019 Kari Kastango began her goal to swim the entire 410-mile length of the Connecticut River. Each year Kari would swim a new section of the river between Memorial Day and Labor Day. She reached the halfway point in 2022 and was determined to be the first person to swim the entire length.

Kari is a member of the Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC) Board and currently works as a director of statistical operations at a clinical research organization. Her mission is to raise awareness of the river’s significance and the efforts to keep it clean for future generations.

“The river provided me opportunities to practice letting go of misconceptions of myself, others and of the river, and being in the present moment more fully. I am extremely grateful to everyone who has been involved with Connecticut River Conservancy since its inception. Their persistent efforts and commitment through the years made this swim possible!” said Kari Kastango.

So far, Kari has swam 84 times with the longest distance of 11 miles from the Turner Falls Dam to Sunderland. According to the CRC, it only took 2 hours and 8 minutes due to the water released from the dam a few hours prior to the swim start. The water was the coldest in Lancaster, NH to Mount Orne Covered Bridge in Lunenburg, VT on April 29, 2023. It was 47.5 degrees.

On Sunday, Kari will make her final swim in Old Lyme, Connecticut. She will start at 1:30 p.m. from Ferry Landing State Park and swim 2.6 miles to the Long Island Sound. The public is invited to watch at Marine DEEP Headquarters at 333 Ferry Rd in Old Lyme and walk along the boardwalk as she swims. 

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