DR. ERIC MIZUBA has a hug for his kids after finishing his swim from Center Harbor to Wolfeboro. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
August 11, 2014WOLFEBORO — Dr. Eric Mizuba has made some long swims of his own and has been part of others, but the swim he made on Friday, Aug. 8, was by far the most important as far as locals go.
The Pennsylvania resident, a longtime friend of Wolfeboro residents Robbie and Wendy Ftorek, was enamored with Lake Winnipesaukee the first time he visited and for the last year or so he's been planning a swim across New Hampshire's largest lake from Center Harbor to Wolfeboro.
And at 5:18 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 8, that swim came to an end as Mizuba put his feet down on the floor of Wolfeboro Bay at the town docks, 22 miles and 12 hours and 10 minutes after he set out from Center Harbor.
"I'm not going to have any guilt eating some ice cream after this," Mizuba joked as he caught his breath at the Wolfeboro Town Docks.
A large group of supporters came out to cheer on the long distance swimmer as he made his way into Wolfeboro Bay, surrounded by his support kayaks and the support boat, provided by Dive Winnipesaukee.
"I thought it was going to be smooth, it started out flat this morning in Center Harbor," Mizuba said. "But I came around into the Broads and it really picked up."
He noted that the swells were behind him for a while, helping to propel him forward, but they also threw him off balance once they started coming from the side, not allowing him to use the true power that he's used to using.
However, Mizuba was quick to thank his supportive family and the crew of people who helped him make the event possible.
"I wouldn't have been able to do this without the crew and without my family," Mizuba noted. His wife and one of his daughters served as part of his support team, paddling in kayaks alongside to protect him from any boats. "I've been involved in seven other swims and this was the best group I've ever been involved with."
The veteran of numerous long swims, including across Lake Erie, noted he had no idea anyone was waiting for him at the docks, as he was focused on what he was doing and never even looked up.
"I couldn't tell if anyone was on the dock until I got in," he said. "People really came out."
The supporters came out to cheer on Mizuba and support Granite State Adaptive, the local organization that helps disabled individuals get out and enjoy sporting activities. Mizuba and Granite State Adaptive worked together to promote the non-profit organization.
"It wasn't just about us, we wanted to make it about here, the people here and someone here who can benefit," Mizuba stated. "With Granite State Adaptive, everything just fell into place."
Jen Fraser Haynes of Granite State Adaptive was infusive of her praise of Mizuba and the work he did to help benefit her organization.
"Our non-profit needed this, the timing and the exposure," she said. "He's amazing, just the things he's done for the last year to get ready for this."
While the end came in the afternoon at the Wolfeboro town docks, Mizuba noted that Tom Wachsmuth of Dive Winnipesaukee took him and his crew out on the lake the previous day, pointing out the buoys and allowing them to get a good look at the 22-mile course that they'd be spending the following day on.
"I knew what I was up against, which is why I took the way I did," Mizuba said. "This route was a lot more interesting and more challenging. That's kind of what I was looking for."
Mizuba noted that after his Lake Erie swim, he made the mistake of going back to work a couple of days later. This time, he planned a family vacation for the following week, allowing him to recuperate a bit before going back to work.
"The mistake I made after Erie was going back to work in two days," Mizuba said with a smile. "My patients wanted to know what was wrong with me."
Mizuba made one final noted before heading off, probably for a little rest and some well-deserved ice cream.
"I've got to thank my father for teaching me to swim," he said.
All told, Mizuba made about 44,000 strokes over the 22-mile, 12-hour journey from Center Harbor to Wolfeboro.
And in the process, he made one giant leap for Granite State Adaptive's work with disabled individuals.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 569-3126 or firstname.lastname@example.org