A northeast open-water golden age

A northeast open-water golden age

What an exciting time to be a marathon swimmer in the northeast US!

The region already hosts three of the nation’s four annual ultra-marathon races – the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, Swim Across the Sound, and the Ederle Swim.

Then there’s the recent spate of “record attempt” swims in the waters around New York City. In June, Liz Fry became the first person to complete a 35-mile “double Ederle” – from Manhattan to Sandy Hook, NJ and back. Last month, Lance Ogren took down the one-way Ederle record in spectacular fashion, shaving 58 minutes off the previous mark. Two days from now, David Barra will take on a double MIMS (twice around the island), in pursuit of Skip Storch‘s 2007 record of 20:56. And finally, at the end of September my MIMS nemesis Ollie Wilkinson (all in good fun, Ollie!) will race local NYC speedster Rondi Davies ‘round Manhattan, challenging Shelley Taylor-Smith’s legendary record of 5:45.

Morty Berger and NYC Swim put a ton of groundwork and meticulous research into these swims, so it’s no surprise to see these new standards being set.

In the expedition swim category, I’m still in awe of Dave and Rondi’s 120-mile 8 Bridges Hudson River stage swim – surely a lock for an Open Water Performance of the Year nomination. Further north, Ray Gandy and Elaine Howley attempted to swim 50 miles in the Narragansett Bay – and made it most of the way despite challenging conditions. To the south, friend-of-the-blog J.C. Malick and three friends took on the 12.4-mile Trans-Delaware Bay swim. Lelane Rossouw-Bancroft set a new course record in the process. And finally, up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, Phil White (of Kingdom Swim renown) brought 11 swimmers together to try the 25-mile length of Lake Memphremagog. Four made it, though the “search” for the lake monster Memphré proved (alas) unsuccessful.

For a region cursed with inconveniently cold water temperatures half the year, our Northeastern brethren manage impressively well. Where’s the Great Lakes region in this marathon swimming revival? Or California, for that matter? Time to step up your game!

6 Responses to “A northeast open-water golden age”

  1. Oliver Wilkinson


    I think it’s a little unfair to call me your MIMS nemesis Evan, surely the fact that you beat me by 10 measly seconds means I get to call you ‘my’ nemesis!! See you in NY, Ollie.

  2. IronMike


    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I can’t wait to get back to the states.

    • Evan


      So the Moscow OWS scene hasn’t reached its golden age yet?

  3. Chicken O'C


    I still think Chicken O’Sea’s Water Crib Challenge would be a great way to revive the Great Lakes. I have to get my citizenship first, though, before I get convicted of a felony.

    • Evan


      i’ve often dreamed of a south crib to 57th St beach swim… it’s about 4K. please invite me if you’re in the mood for a felony!


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