MSF review panel ratifies five swims, new world distance record

evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
edited April 2017 in Admin Communications
An international panel of 15 esteemed marathon swimmers reviewed the documentation for swims submitted to MSF in 2014. We are pleased to announce official ratification of five swims:
  • Anthony McCarley's triple crossing between St Thomas and St John (the first swim conducted according to the MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming). [documentation] [Forum thread]
  • Elaine Howley's 32-mile lengthwise crossing of Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho. [documentation] [Forum thread]
  • Patti Bauernfeind's Monterey Bay crossing, the first since 1980. [documentation]
  • Kimberly Rutherford's Monterey Bay crossing, two weeks later. [documentation]
  • Chloё McCardel's 124.4-kilometer (77.3-mile) swim from Eleuthera Island to Nassau, Bahamas. [documentation] [Forum thread]
The panel also endorsed the documentation of Craig Lenning's and Joe Locke's Farallon Island swims. However, these swims are still pending ratification by the Farallon Islands Swimming Federation, and are not within the ratification purview of MSF.

Additionally, the panel voted to formally endorse Chloё McCardel as the world record holder for Longest Unassisted Ocean Swim.

The review panel consisted of the following:
  • David Barra (United States) – Co-founder of the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim and Triple Crown marathon swimmer.
  • Donal Buckley (Ireland) – Author of award-winning blog LoneSwimmer, MSF co-founder, English Channel and Manhattan Island soloist.
  • Anne Cleveland (United States) – Honour Swimmer, International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.
  • Sylvain Estadieu (France) – first male to swim the English Channel butterfly.
  • Elaine Howley (United States) – Co-founder of Massachusetts Open Water Swimming Association and Triple Crown marathon swimmer.
  • Andrew Hunt (Australia) – Triple Crown marathon swimmer and 11x Rottnest Channel soloist.
  • Andrew Malinak (United States) – MSF Rules co-author and one of only three ever to finish all seven stages of the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim in the same year.
  • Anthony McCarley (United States) – Triple Crown marathon swimmer.
  • Zoe Sadler (United Kingdom) – English Channel soloist and Lake Windemere two-way soloist.
  • Fergal Somerville (Ireland) – North Channel and English Channel soloist. Organiser of Eastern Bay Invitational International Ice Mile Swim.
  • Sarah Thomas (United States) – Triple Crown marathon swimmer. First to complete two-way length of Lake Tahoe; first two complete two-way length of Lake Memphremagog.
  • Nora Toledano (Mexico) – Honour Swimmer, International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. 6x English Channel soloist. Former FINA Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit competitor
  • Grace van der Byl (United States) – Current record-holder for fastest swim from Catalina Island to the California mainland.
  • Milko van Gool (Netherlands) – English Channel, North Channel, Rottnest Channel, and IJsselmeer soloist.
  • Scott Zornig (United States) – President, Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association. Catalina Channel and Manhattan Island soloist.
For more details on the panelists, see here.
For the full news release, see here.

Congratulations to all, and our deepest gratitude to the panelists for the time they spent reviewing the documentation.
IronMikeAnthonyMcCarleyTheoJustSwimloneswimmerKarenTDanSimonellipavlicovSydneDphodgeszoho
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Comments

  • MunatonesMunatones Charter Member
    Congratulations to all.

    These well-deserved ratifications of swims by Anthony, Elaine, Patti, Kimberly, Chloё, Craig and Joe lead me to ask the following series of question.

    First of all, my question relates to the MSF definition of the spirit of marathon swimming: Marathon swimmers embrace the challenge of crossing wild, open bodies of water with minimal assistance beyond their own physical strength and mental fortitude. There are ways to make the sport easier, but marathon swimmers consciously eschew them.

    1. What is the position of the MSF if a swimmer completed a MSF-governed marathon swim where currents or tidal flows (or a significant surface wind push) played a positive role?
    2. In the case where a swimmer gains - either purposefully or unintentionally - advantages due to currents, tidal flow or significant wind push, does (or can) the swim classification change from an unassisted swim to an assisted swim according to the MSF rules or interpretations?
    3. Fundamentally, if there are existing currents and tides in the location of a MSF-governed marathon swim that can be purposefully taken advantage of by a swimmer, is this considered to be an unfair advantage? Or is plotting with the natural movement of the open water considered to be part of the fun and challenge of a marathon swim?
    4. If a MSF-governed swim is judged to be an assisted swim due to currents, tides or wind push, what are the parameters of these determinations? That is, how fast must the advantageous currents and tidal flow be - or how far they must flow - in order to be seen as assistance? Is there an absolute rule (e.g., 2 miles per hour) or is the rule relative to the speed of the swimmer?
    5. Another example, in a 12-hour swim, what if currents were advantageous for only 3 hours? Is this swim judged to be an assisted or unassisted swim? What if currents were advantageous for 3 hours, disadvantageous for 3 hours and neutral for 6 hours?
    6. There are all kinds of examples, but as a general rule, what are the generally accepted rules within the MSF community?

    Thank you very much in advance for your assistance in this series of questions. I look forward to your responses and guidance.

    Background: I would like to submit a swim to the MSF, but I am not sure to submit it as an unassisted or assisted swim due to purposeful use of currents and tidal flows.
    evmoDanSimonelli

    Steven Munatones www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com Huntington Beach, California, U.S.A.

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member



    1. What is the position of the MSF if a swimmer completed a MSF-governed marathon swim where currents or tidal flows (or a significant surface wind push) played a positive role?
    2. In the case where a swimmer gains - either purposefully or unintentionally - advantages due to currents, tidal flow or significant wind push, does (or can) the swim classification change from an unassisted swim to an assisted swim according to the MSF rules or interpretations?
    3. Fundamentally, if there are existing currents and tides in the location of a MSF-governed marathon swim that can be purposefully taken advantage of by a swimmer, is this considered to be an unfair advantage? Or is plotting with the natural movement of the open water considered to be part of the fun and challenge of a marathon swim?
    4. If a MSF-governed swim is judged to be an assisted swim due to currents, tides or wind push, what are the parameters of these determinations? That is, how fast must the advantageous currents and tidal flow be - or how far they must flow - in order to be seen as assistance? Is there an absolute rule (e.g., 2 miles per hour) or is the rule relative to the speed of the swimmer?
    5. Another example, in a 12-hour swim, what if currents were advantageous for only 3 hours? Is this swim judged to be an assisted or unassisted swim? What if currents were advantageous for 3 hours, disadvantageous for 3 hours and neutral for 6 hours?
    6. There are all kinds of examples, but as a general rule, what are the generally accepted rules within the MSF community?

    Hi Steve,
    Great questions, and since the MSF rules are a live document, I expect there may very well be considerable discussion regarding some of these issues to reach consensus.

    My understanding is that the question of natural advantage (wind, current, etc) does not come into play for establishing a route or breaking a record for an established route. It does however weigh heavily in consideration for “world” record claims where a reasonable standard for neutral current assist should be observed. One may ask (and you have); What is reasonable? I think the answer to this is TBD.

    I would say that a swim that is classified as unassisted, could still be disqualified from world record consideration due to “assistance”. IMHO
    evmoDanSimonelli

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited December 2014
    Thanks for the questions, Steve. A few thoughts:

    (In my opinion) The concept of "current assistance" is only relevant for a tiny fraction of open water swims ever attempted. Actually I can think of only one category: When the swimmer is claiming a world record for distance swum. In that rare case, it's relevant to ask whether the total swim distance represents the actual distance swum, or whether the person was floating down a river.

    For the other 99.9999% of swims (when there's no world distance record being claimed), currents are just one of many environmental variables that exist in a given body of open water. And if they can be researched and predicted, then you'd be smart to take advantage of them.

    MIMS is not an "assisted swim" because it is planned around currents. It is a traditional marathon swim that happens to take place in a tidal strait. At the same time, a circumnavigation of Manhattan is not the same thing as doing 28.5 miles in wide open ocean. Common sense, yes?

    As for questions 4 and 5 (what are the parameters of determining current assistance), that would be a fascinating discussion. But again, only relevant when there's a record on the line. If I were a swimmer trying to break Chloe's record, it'd be easier to just pick a location that nobody would argue with (zero-to-minimal currents), rather than provoking a debate about "what is too strong of a current."

    Background: I would like to submit a swim to the MSF, but I am not sure to submit it as an unassisted or assisted swim due to purposeful use of currents and tidal flows.

    MSF Rules define "unassisted" as:
    Without artificial assistance to performance, other than the standard equipment of the sport. Any swim that benefits from assistance - in the form of nonstandard performance-enhancing equipment, supportive contact with the swimmer, or other violation of the spirit of unassisted marathon swimming - is considered an Assisted Swim.
    My interpretation: the Unassisted vs Assisted distinction is about physical assistance (hanging on the boat, grabbing onto your swim streamer at night, etc.) and technological assistance (wetsuits, fins, etc.).

    Current assistance is relevant to distance records, but doesn't make an otherwise unassisted swim "assisted."
    DanSimonelliIronMike
  • Hi Everyone,

    Paul and I would like to thank everyone involved in the MSF Ratification Process, especially the panellists for generously giving their time. As I mentioned previously transparency, credibility and accountability are very important to Paul and I and we believe this is a major development in the evolution of our sport.

    Lastly, a very special thank you to Dave Barra whose tireless work and diligence (with the assistance of Bri) created a document of such a high standard which will hopefully become the benchmark for all future MSF swims.

    Wishing all MSF members a Happy and Swimmy New Year!! :)

    Chloë & Paul
    loneswimmerslknightDanSimonelliKatieBunphodgeszoho
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