Should MIMS be part of the Triple Crown?

evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
edited December 2015 in General Discussion
This discussion was created from comments split from: MIMS 2016 Swimmers.
JbetleyDanSimonelli
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  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    I'll start with disclaimer: Sorry to be a killjoy here; I'm certainly not one to discourage people from swimming any event. But... MIMS, bleh! I'm continually amazed at what people will go through, hoops to jump, to do this swim. The overbearing application process alone...WTF?! And, as Susie mentioned above, the 'Morty protocol' creates added stress and expense.

    For years I've been hearing from friends and others who have done MIMS how cool of a swim it is. But I don't see it.

    And it's still a quandary to me why it's considered part of a triple crown...good PR I suppose.

    I think it's good that other regions in the world have established their own "triple crown" of swims.

    I may start a campaign to replace MIMS with Molokai, I think a much tougher marathon swim and much more worthy of triple crown status. ;)

    suziedodsKatieBunChrisgreeneloneswimmerHelbe
  • suziedodssuziedods Charter Member

    It is COMPLETELY PR driven... Completely agree w setting up other "triple crowns". Molokai though? ugh.. water's too hot. ps it's suZie... not "S"... Commensurate TC in SF? Round Trip Alcatraz, Round Trip Angel Island and a Round Trip Bridge to Bridge. All 3 involve working the tides.. cold water and great views. Add to that the possibility of tankers.. well, game on!

    DanSimonelliloneswimmer

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited December 2015

    My understanding (interpretation?) of the "Triple Crown" is as the three most historically significant marathon swims; it doesn't really have anything to do with "toughness" or even geographic representativeness. Given that the first swim around Manhattan (1915) pre-dated Catalina (1927), I would think it has a fairly strong claim for historical significance.

    Interesting side-note, the Manhattan-Sandy Hook swim (now known as the "Ederle Swim") also pre-dates Catalina (1925). Even less well-known, the first known channel swim attempt in the California Channel Islands was actually off Santa Cruz Island (1926, by Zane Steenrod), not Catalina.

    All that being said, the best reason to swim around Manhattan is that it's an incredible experience. If you're doing MIMS because of the so-called "Triple Crown," you're probably doing it for the wrong reasons. Swim according to your own bucket list, not somebody else's (my opinion).

    DeemasuziedodsJustSwimDanSimonellidavid_barralakesprayloneswimmergregocmysterybob
  • suziedodssuziedods Charter Member

    Dang, I need to read up on my OWS history!! Thanks for the details. Agree, if you're doing a swim SOLELY to do at TC, or a medal or a trophy, or fame and fortune, you're in the wrong business.

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    Good history lesson, Evan. Thanks.

    However, clearly the rise in popularity of MIMS is correlated with TC status.

    Having inserted my opinion, I don't want to hijack this good and useful thread for those doing MIMS 2016....so, I'll leave it.

    malinaka
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited December 2015

    DanSimonelli said: However, clearly the rise in popularity of MIMS is correlated with TC status.

    I would say that is equally true of Catalina.

    Having inserted my opinion, I don't want to hijack this good and useful thread for those doing MIMS 2016....so, I'll leave it.

    No problem, we can just split it off in its own thread.

  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member

    Maybe it's time to add an EC Triple, too. EC, Jersey to France and Round Jersey. ;-)

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member

    I'm going to disagree with @evmo in my understanding of MIMS based on something I read by Morty some years ago ( I'm not 100% certain but I think it was in a email directly to me or that I was copied on). This was that Morty himself says he came up with the TC idea as a way of promoting MIMS and he had the idea of using the title of the three biggest horse races in North America.

    In Ireland and the UK which I know all of you know are not the same thing and are mutually exclusive, the Triple Crown refers to the winner of the annual rugby series between Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.

    Where I completely agree with @evmo is, do MIMS to do a unique swim, not because of the made up literally horseshit promotional title which makes marathon swimming another badge rather than something we do because we want to experience and swim something different.

    The Triple Crown is like the Gillette razors of swimming. There are lots of alternatives, better value and longer lasting with a better result but they are buried under the meaningless self-promotional hype.

    evmoKatieBunDanSimonelli

    loneswimmer.com

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited January 2016

    I've haven't heard Morty claim to have invented the term, though I'm sure he probably has used it to promote MIMS.

    This is from a @Ned Denison post to the Channel Swimmers group circa November 2010:

    We can clearly trace the term "Triple Crown" to California based Scott Richards in about 2006. I independently used it later that year as part of my "let me in please" essay when I applied for MIMS. Another California based swimmer Rendy Lynn used it widely around the same time.

    While we can't seem to exactly trace it some have memories of "Triple Crown" being mentioned in a magazine Outside or the USMS magazine in an article about open water swim around 1995. Anybody got an old collection and nothing to do on a Saturday can try and find it!

    Starting in 1996, MIMS in press releases started to refer to our “Other marathon ‘sister’ swims: English Channel (21 miles), Catalina Channel, California (21 miles)” as a way to try to explain marathon swimming to the general public. The only event the press was familiar with was the English Channel. Most USA media on the East Coast press knew little about Catalina. While MIMS has always been proud to be mentioned along with these two other great swims - it is not right to imply (as a few swimmers did recently) that MIMS was in some way taking advantage. MIMS was and is a great swim in its own right and folks all over the world seek out New York City as a tourist and life destination and for swimmers - the allure of a 28.5 mile swim around the Island keeps the events over subscribed each year.

    Steve Munatones gave the "Triple Crown" gravitas and credibility by promoting the idea further in the last few years.

    DanSimonelliloneswimmer
  • IronMikeIronMike Arlington, VACharter Member

    KatieBun said: Maybe it's time to add an EC Triple, too. EC, Jersey to France and Round Jersey. ;-)

    This would go great in the thread I started years ago and that @evmo just bumped. ;)

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    @evmo I agree, probably a significant factor in the increased Catalina swims since around 2008-9.

    And thanks for adding @Ned 's post.

    I think my understanding of the history, albeit sources limited to mostly 3rd person accounts, led me to the thinking toward the PR bent. But, I acknowledge that's too simplified and there's certainly more nuanced details that evolved.

    I know Scott Richards well and we've had this conversation several times over the years, and coincidentally just last week, and as Ned mentions, Scott has his story of the coining of the term for use of the current three swims. Then, of course, as Ned said Steve M further popoluarized it via web/social media.

    However, to my original point, I should've clarified that personally I don't really have the same sense of grandeur for swimming in those rivers or around the city island; I greatly prefer dreaming/visualizing/doing the long swim out in the open ocean or isolation of wilderness.

    So, that was my reason for questioning it...not thinking about it as you put it, "the three most historically significant marathon swims", which I can see.

    evmorosemarymint
  • I agree with all those who say that the primary reason for doing MIMS is the swim itself, not the "prestige". But I also have to admit that some of the hype and PR does make his T shirts kind of cool. One of Morty's events had a t shirt that featured the swim as part of some international "World Series" that included Brazil. Unfortunately when I looked it up online there didn't really seem to be such a series. That might stretching things a bit too much ...

    loneswimmer
  • JenAJenA Charter Member

    Oops. I pasted my comment to the wrong thread.

    Hmmm.... From https://www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com/sanctions/rules-regulations/:

    WOWSA created brands including the Half Century Club, 24-hour Club, Oceans Seven, Open Water Swimming Magazine, World Swimming Majors, World’s Top 100 Open Water Swims, America’s Top 100 Open Water Swims, Asia’s Top 50 Open Water Swims, Africa’s Top 100 Open Water Swims, and World’s Hardest Swims (North Hemisphere + Southern Hemisphere) as well as maintains the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming.

  • ttriventtriven Senior Member

    I too love the open ocean, a channel swim, but for me MIMS was really something else.

    I hated the application process. I loved the swim. It was fun and meaningful to bond with other swimmers on the swim day. I had a personal epiphany during the swim, enabled by hardship during it. I grew as a person and a swimmer. It was an epic and emotional day. I felt connected to previous generations of my family who came to NY from Ireland, lived in NY, and whose descendants still live in NY. Moving fast under the Brooklyn Bridge was awesome. One thing I thought was kind of funny was the photos my husband took were so beautiful and dramatic, I just had to laugh because mostly, from my point of view, I saw a lot of brown water (and bridges). Still, it was moving, emotionally and literally. No title will change the experience itself. I think anyone who goes after the three swims for the title may find that in the course of achieving it, it becomes superfluous. But given that the TC is not governed by a body outside the current TC, I don't see it changing any time soon.

    DanSimonellisuziedods
  • Leonard_JansenLeonard_Jansen Charter Member

    evmo said: My understanding (interpretation?) of the "Triple Crown" is as the three most historically significant marathon swims; it doesn't really have anything to do with "toughness" or even geographic representativeness. Given that the first swim around Manhattan (1915) pre-dated Catalina (1927), I would think it has a fairly strong claim for historical significance.

    Interesting side-note, the Manhattan-Sandy Hook swim (now known as the "Ederle Swim") also pre-dates Catalina (1925). Even less well-known, the first known channel swim attempt in the California Channel Islands was actually off Santa Cruz Island (1926, by Zane Steenrod), not Catalina.

    All that being said, the best reason to swim around Manhattan is that it's an incredible experience. If you're doing MIMS because of the so-called "Triple Crown," you're probably doing it for the wrong reasons. Swim according to your own bucket list, not somebody else's (my opinion).

    Possibly the first recorded marathon swim in the US was Matthew Webb's swim from Sandy Hook to Manhattan Beach. I forget the date, but it wasn't too long after his EC swim.

    -LBJ

    DanSimonelli

    “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde

  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member

    Looking back, MIMS was a wonderful swim and one of my all time favorites. It was my prime reason to travel to New York and I brought my family. I had my son Luke wear his team swim cap for a picture on the top of the Empire State Building. It inspired my parents to travel out for the event and they ended up visiting with Darren Miller's parents as he was just completing his Triple Crown at the time. It was in New York that I was able to reconnect with my friend David Barra and see how NYC Swim organized not only a kayaker for each swimmer but also a motorboat. The volunteer effort was like no other event I've ever seen and probably ever will see. Logistics involving 30+ motorboats??? Now that's not just a swim, that's an insane circus on the water. It was stressful and time consuming to fill out the application, but being "accepted" was considered an achievement itself. It was the gateway to meeting a variety of open water swimmers from around the world.

    The Facebook posts from the NYC Swim were fascinating given all the historical context and swimming history. I ended up standing next in line to a crazy South African, Roger Finch, who never ceased to entertain me and entertains me to this day. Penny Dean, an open water icon, was present as a coach for a budding young open water swimmer, Emma. My mentor, Tina Neill, was there to do an undercover backstroke swim as she had done at the EC. Jim Fitzpatrick, who I'd swam with in Laguna Beach, was there to complete his Triple Crown. It was at Grimaldi's lifeguard chair at Brighton Beach that I watched Donal collect signatures of all MIMS swimmers who had completed the EC. I had read Lone Swimmer's blog and here the pale Irish guy was in New York swimming - I had to shake his hand at the pre-swim meeting like a swim groupie.

    I previously "watched" the GPS MIMS dots trot around my internet map of Manhattan which is like watching one lap of NASCAR on super slow speed yet I was still in awe. I read Evan's in depth analysis of the tides and currents whether it be Hells Gate or making the turn at George Washington Bridge as he finished between two Aussies in 2011: Van Wisse and Wilkinson. It was amazing to see the Empire State Building, Yankee stadium, the "C" rock for Columbia University as you swim. A float plane landed relatively near me as I swam in the East River which may never happen again as long as I live. The night before the swim, David Letterman would make reference to MIMS just as the comedians on Seinfeld lampooned Kramer swimming in the Hudson. In the following years, it was remarkable to watch Gracie make a comeback after experiencing hypothermia one year and then win it the next year with Neil as her guide. The swim was more than the location and a prong in the Triple Crown, it was about the people participating in it - that was bonus. You knew who was going to be swimming and you hoped they did well.

    MIMS set the standard, in my opinion, for how cool a marathon swim could be that involved a "select set" of swimmers at once (we had 38 swimmers in 2102). MIMS motivated me to create SCAR. I can say without question, MIMS was a fantastic time and inspired me. My memory of MIMS is far from bleh. I hope that same enthusiasm returns but it will take a mammoth effort to duplicate what Morty accomplished in its prime of 2012.

    DeemaevmoJustSwimnabilradssthomasDanSimonellifrnkdeblakespraydavid_barrarosemarymintmysterybobloneswimmerChrisgreenecourtneypaulk
  • lakespraylakespray Senior Member

    That MIMS as part of the Triple Crown of Swimming is ineradicable. For those that want add other swims in or out, I suggest a new name for your version, maybe hire Don Draper to come up with another catch phrase or slogan.

    suziedods
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member

    @KNicholas Pale? By Irish standards I'm practically toasted!

    KNicholassuziedods

    loneswimmer.com

  • emkhowleyemkhowley Boston, MACharter Member

    I had written a story about the TC back in 2012 for SWIMMER ("Father, Faster, Colder, First" Mar/Apr 2012, the annual open water issue) when I was still a freelancer for USMS. In the process of researching the piece, I ran across that same post from Ned on the Channel Swimmers site that's linked above that indicated Scott Richards had coined the term. I interviewed Scott and he told me all about how the term came about, as banter among friends in the mid-2000s and it grew from there.

    We ran the piece, and Morty contacted me afterwards saying that, no, it was his term, that Scott hadn't coined it, that he had. Morty said he came up with it back in the mid-1990s as a means of promoting marathon swimming and NYC Swim. He grew up in Baltimore where the Preakness Stakes is and so he adapted the idea of the Triple Crown of horse racing by grouping these three swims.

    We ran the following errata in the May/Jun 2012 issue: "In "Farther, Faster, Colder, First" (March-April 2012) we stated that the use of the term "Triple Crown," relating to the completion of the English Channel, Catalina Channel, and Manhattan Island Marathon Swims, started as 'banter among friends' in 2004. Further research has revealed that the concept originated in 1987 as the 'Triple Header,' in an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune about swimmer Jack Robertson. A year later, in an article about Ashby Harper's attempt to swim all three events at age 71, the term 'Swimming Triple' was used. In 1995, NYC Swim founder Morty Berger, who had taken over organization of MIMS a few years before, was quoted in a story titled "East River Water Sports? Swim at Your Own Rick," published in Our Town and called the series the 'Triple Crown.' From there, the term grew and in 2006, Scott Richards began researching the list of swimmers who had completed the swims and assumed the unofficial role of advocate and promoted of the series. Berger should have been noted as the originator of the term 'Triple Crown.' SWIMMER regrets the errors."

    So yeah. I ate some crow over that story--i.e. my client wasn't happy to have to run an errata over one of my stories and I'm glad I survived the experience as both a writer and a swimmer, but I learned to always dig a little deeper on any sort of open water claim.

    On a personal note, I was quite proud to complete the TC when I did in 2009, and I'd once flirted with the idea of attempting the Oceans 7, but soon realized that they represent someone else's arbitrary list, not mine. So now I focus on doing the swims I really want to do, whether they're part of someone's "prestigious" grouping or not. It's a nice shorthand to be able to throw out to someone who's asking, to be able to say, 'Oh, I'm a Triple Crown swimmer,' but beyond that, it's just three great swims that I happened to do as part of a longer career that's included much, much harder and more meaningful challenges along the way.

    evmosuziedodsgregocDanSimonellidavid_barrarosemarymintjendutnabilradFlowSwimmersAnthonyMcCarleyBob_Singer

    Stop me if you've heard this one... A grasshopper walks into a bar... https://elainekhowley.com/

  • suziedodssuziedods Charter Member

    What gets my goat is people crowing that O7 are the "hardest/most dangerous" swims. Uh.. no. That being said... I do take pride in FINALLY having finished the da*n TC. On to the next thing.

    DanSimonelli

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com

  • HelbeHelbe Senior Member

    Social media has raised awareness of many of the big swims around the world. Personally I entered MIMS as I had never been to New York and saw it as a very different swim from anything else, a circular swim rather than linear, with excitingly fast tides and offering incredible views of Manhattan skyline with every breath. The timing allowed me to use my EC swim as qualifying swim and my medical for 2014 CCSF was valid which assisted the application process. It was also no longer a single big race event. Yes, the TC aspect was of interest, but was not the main reason for my application.

    To be held up as one of three historic swims making up a 'triple crown' I think each organisation has to be transparent and exemplar. MIMS/NYC Swim is a one man band which clearly has no accountability unlike CCSF and CSPF. This does not sit well with me. Although I did enjoy the swim in 2015, the stress of zero communication from January to 3 days before my swim date was something I never ever want to put myself through again and it impacted on every aspect of my life: work, family, training. It was just sheer relief to get in the water and my memory of the swim as an event is less positive than it could/should be.

    I agree with @emkhowley that all these collections of swims represent someone else's grouping and people should focus on swims they want to do. Personally I like big solo swims and have always steered clear of any that are considered a 'race' and have a mass start. Each to their own.

    DanSimonelliIronMike
  • Let me say it from the start: I am not an elite swimmer, and I don't have an extraordinary resume. Having said that, putting MIMS in with the EC is a farce. I did Manhattan 3x, and while it's not a walk in the park, it doesn't compare. If you read the tide tables right, you get a push all the way- as much as 5 knots in places. On the other hand, the currents put an end to my EC attempt- and that of many others. The East River and the Harlem River are sheltered and usually like a pond. Unless you go in a hurricane, the only rough water in MIMS is a few miles at the south end of Manhattan. Nearby, Atlantic City (Absecon Island) is exposed to the ocean for the first half and can be nasty. The TC needs to be rethought.

    DanSimonelli
  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    @waterworld That was my thoughts originally, but @evmo's response and history lesson (read above) made me rethink my initial premise. So, although I still have little motivation/desire to swim MIMS, for various reasons, I do have a better understanding of why it can be considered an "iconic" swim.

    evmo
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited January 2016

    If the Triple Crown was supposed to be the three hardest swims, the EC wouldn't be part of it, either.

    (Not that I wish to reinforce the TC's perceived importance; I'm not really into other people's bucket lists, either!)

    gregocDanSimonellisuziedods
  • Leonard_JansenLeonard_Jansen Charter Member

    I view it something like this: If we were each to list our own version of the 3 most beautiful women/handsome men, we would undoubtedly get quite a range of individuals. However, some people would likely appear repeatedly. Likewise, there would be some people who, even if you didn't have them in your top 3, you'd probably agree that, yes, they are beautiful/handsome. The Triple Crown is somewhat similar in that each might appear repeatedly on a list of desirable swims or most people would agree that they are desirable.

    Of course, as a friend of mine says, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we all know ugly."

    -LBJ

    gregocDanSimonellisuziedodsevmodpm50

    “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde

  • bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter Member

    I've always believed that the Triple Crown should be EC, CC and the Cook Strait. Three Channels in different parts of the world. Maybe we should just call them the Three Amigos.

    suziedodsdpm50DanSimonelli
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