The Stuff of Legend

Prince Georgian William Shipp to Participate in the 2012 In Search of Memphre Swim

By Annamarya Scaccia

shippWhen William Shipp was diagnosed with prostate cancer in fall of 2010, his world capsized.

The managing partner in the Calverton-based law firm of O’Malley, Miles, Nylen & Gilmore was one day relishing in the results of his best indoor season as a masters swimmer and first Kingdom 10 mile swim only to become “a 50-year-old guy with prostate cancer mapping out treatment options.”

“When one gets the news that you have cancer, it is almost a surreal experience,” Shipp has said.

After undergoing surgery in January 2011, he was on the path to recovery—and during this time, found support in local agencies that benefit cancer patients, survivors, and their loved ones. Through this connection, Shipp truly understood the inestimable significance of organizations that provide wellness services and aid to those battling serious and chronic illnesses.

It’s why the now 52-year-old husband and father of two daughters is once again participating in the In Search of Memphre swim. Held the weekend of September 8, the 25-mile international plunge runs the length of Lake Memphremagg, between Magog, Quebec and Newport, Vermont, and will see seven marathon open water swimmers furiously tracking the fabled lake monster Memphre, while raising money for Vermont’s Indoor Recreation Orleans County (IROC) and its Healthy Changes Initiative.

For Shipp, joining the swim is an honor—one that allows him to experience “first-class open water swimming” while raising awareness and money for “an incredibly worthy cause.” And that worthy cause? IROC’s innovative fitness and health programs benefitting people living with heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions, as well as cancer patients and survivors.

“They push on in anonymity with people in everyday life not even being aware of the struggle they are facing,” the land use and zoning law expert is quoted as saying in his swimmer’s bio. “Sometimes each of us needs a hand to help us fight on, to lift us up, to reinforce our value, to give us respite. You never know when or how you may be the one needing help.”

So far, Shipp and the other scouts on the 2012 In Search of Memphre team have raised over $12,000 for IROC (to donate, click here).

This is Shipp’s second attempt at the swim. He competed last year as part of the scout team but did not complete the full swim. But the Mitchellville resident is no stranger to swimming. While he considers himself an open water novice, Shipp is well-versed in the water discipline. As a youth, he swam for Virginia’s Herndon High School, and attended George Washington University on a swimming scholarship. After taking a rather-long break, he returned to the sport in his early 40’s, creating waves in local and national pool competitions with the Terrapin Masters. But it was the law firm principal’s affiliation with Annapolis’ Arundel Breakfast Club that turned him on to open water swimming—and he hasn’t looked back since.

Now, Shipp’s swimming roster includes three Kingdom Swim 10-mile events, several 4.4-mile Great Chesapeake Bay Swims, the Potomac River Swim, and—of course—In Search of Memphre.

The other scouts include Liz Fry, 53, of Westport, CT; David Dammerman, 43 of Saratoga Springs, NY; David Barra, 47 of High Falls, NY; Aurora Gore, 29, of Libertyville, IL; Lori Carena, 58, of Brooklyn, NY; and Jennifer Dutton, 43, of Wayland, MA. Each swimmer on the 2012 expedition is supported by a two-member crew operating 16-foot aluminum guide boats with protected propellers, backed by six larger patrol boats.

The 2012 In Search of Memphre swim also aims to promote a more open border with Canada. For more information, visit

Published on Prince George’s Suite – Monday, September 10, 2012

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