HOPE — In 31 years, the Hobbs Pond Swim has come full circle.

While the world moves at lightning speed into the future, this informal gathering of athletic-minded, outdoors-loving people on the shore of this 266-acre waterway went off on Saturday, Aug. 13 as it might have when it first began three-plus decades ago.

Simply and strictly for fun — socially and athletically.

Lola Black, front, and Sadie Woodruff. Photo by Ken Waltz

That was the case on Saturday morning under glorious later-summer weather as 22 hardy souls turned out to swim the half-mile, close-to-shore course to celebrate their love and respect of the town, pond, swimming and, of course, each other.

Namely, a splashing good time was had by all — in a chilled-out-sort-of-way, of course.

Lola Black, 14, of Camden finished first overall, while Adam Obst, 39, of Hope was the first male swimmer in the 31st event.

The traditional course was a half-mile, with options of shorter distances of .375th and .47th of a mile.

Larkin Mott. Photo by Ken Waltz

The morning swim was a celebration of the town, its people and their love for the outdoors — and, specifically, this body of water.

“I feel blessed to a part of the Hope community after moving here four years ago,” said Ruth Jahn, who co-organizes the event with Damon McClure. “Exercise, being outside, tradition and community involvement are important to me, and what I want my children to experience. This event seems to encompass all of the above, and I love that.”

Many have been involved with the event, which started as a humble swim, grew to include dozens of swimmers, many of them younger and college-level swimmers, which lent itself to a more competitive atmosphere. It has returned to its more in informal roots in recent years.

Spotters in their kayaks. Photo by Ken Waltz

There were, of course, a handful of young, talented swimmers — members of the Camden Hills Regional High School and Penobscot Bay YMCA Sailfish youth swim squads — who participated.

One longtime, respected participant was Bill Jones, 85, of Hope, who has been instrumental in keeping the event afloat, so to speak.

“The groundwork has definitely been laid by Bill and his family, so helping to organize this, along with all Damon’s hard work, isn’t much at all. It’s been my pleasure,” Jahn said.

Bill Jones. Photo by Ken Waltz

The event also includes a number of spotters sitting in different watercraft, especially colorful kayaks.

The event certainly has a community feel, especially for the people of this small Knox County community and specifically those who live or summer around the five-mile perimeter, 20-foot deep waterway.

The swim, which includes locals, summer visitors, fathers, daughters, sisters, brothers and assorted family members, takes place near the pond’s public beach off Barnestown Road.

On Saturday, the swimmers, who from as far away at Maryland and Colorado, were as young as 12 and as old as 85, with a number of participants in their 50s, 60s and 7os.

After the swim, there was a social gathering at Hope General Store.

There were no official times or places recorded.

The following are the names, ages and towns of the 2022 participants: Kathy Bourque Parker, 56, Owls Head; Sheri Dacso, 72, Spruce Head; Sadie Woodruff, 18, Camden; Scott Woodruff, 53, Camden; Susie Rardin, 72, Spruce Head; Bill Jones, 85, Hope; Mark Vannini, 50, Hope; Heidi Vannini, 50, Hope; Alison Jones, 45, Somerville, Mass.; Jonathan Blum, 62, Harrison, N.Y.; Adam Obst, 37, Hope; Lola Black, 14, Camden; Mary Wagner, 29, Hope; Anne Walker, 57, Oxford, Md.; Lily Mott, 16, Lincolnville; Larkin Mott, 12, Lincolnville; Gwyneth Jones, 43, Boston, Mass.; Iris Eckelman, 13, Boston, Mass.; Sara Gagan, 72, Hope; Dan Dalrymple, 51, Rockland; Ella Benjamin, 13, Woodridge, N.J.; and Alise Curry, 59, Longmont, Colo.