SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – Kari Kastango will be making her final swim to complete the entire length of the Connecticut River on Sunday.

Kari Kastango will be the first person to complete a swim of the entire length of the 410-mile Connecticut River.

She began her goal to swim the entire length of the Connecticut River back in 2019, and 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 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.

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. At 3:00 p.m., the public is invited to a riverside celebration at Great Island Boat Launch where a tent will be set up, local conservation partners and members of the press will be mingling, and visual aides will also highlight Kari’s journey. Light refreshments will be served, and some chairs will be set up.  

Kari has swam 84 times so far with the longest distance of 11 miles from the Turner Falls Dam to Sunderland. It only took 2 hours and 8 minutes due to the water released from the dam a few hours prior to the swim start, according to CRC. 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.

“Kari is what I consider a true adventurer. She was self-funded funded, took time off work to travel up and down the watershed, providing her own transportation, housing, and equipment. She even purchased a used Boston Whaler for safety in the larger sections of the river. It was all on Kari, and she deserves a tremendous amount of credit for completing this monumental task, and for being the first to do so for the Connecticut River!” said Tim Lewis, CRC Board of Trustees member, and support for Kari’s swim

“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.

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