Charles Zibelman Hudson River swim 1937

evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
edited December 2017 in General Discussion

Curious to hear from the folks who know the Hudson River and its local history well....

Is this swim considered legit? Or does it belong in the proven frauds thread....

https://hudsonvalleyone.com/2014/06/11/swimming-changing-tide

In August 1937, Charles Zibelman swam non-stop from Albany to New York City. Nicknamed “Zimmy the Human Fish,” Mr. Zibelman lost his legs at the age of nine in a trolley accident and subsequently made a living on the carnival circuit from exhibition swimming, setting endurance records. The non-stop swim down the Hudson was one of his more famous stunts. He was in the water for 148 consecutive hours, continuing his swim despite the tide.

Even with due latitude given for the standards of 1937, 148 hours seems pretty mind boggling.

More here: http://www.njpalisades.org/somewhereHereKingston.html

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Comments

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    Well,I have no first hand knowledge of this swim, but I read that being legless, he was buoyant enough to sleep while floating on his back.

    The history of Hudson River swimming is colorful, and certainly... inconsistencies abound, Most notable is the switch from elapsed time to cumulative water time.

    evmo

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited December 2017

    Thanks - that does seem more plausible if he could sleep while floating on his back.

    In any case, if this swim happened as claimed - 148 hours nonstop swimming/floating, then it's by far the longest duration nonstop unassisted swim. The closest I can find is a 100 hour swim in the Paraná River (Argentina) by Pedro Candioti (El Tiburón del Quillá - "Shark of Quilla Creek") in 1939.

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    Many of these early swims were simply stunts. I think it's hey are noteworthy as historical and human interest stories, but there was absolutely no standard of conduct with which to compare swims with real observer reports. I think they should be included in historical lists with an asterisk..... "limited data available"

    evmo

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited December 2017

    "limited data available"

    Sadly this caveat probably applies to the majority of independent swims (outside the major sanction orgs) before about 5 years ago....

    david_barraIronMike
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited December 2017

    I asked Steve M about Mr Zimmy, which prompted him to do some additional research beyond the previous openwaterpedia profile.

    Steve thinks the claim is legitimate to the standards of 1937, given the contemporary coverage in Life Magazine and the NYT. He also pointed me to some cool video footage of Zimmy in a pool, preparing for a Cuba-Florida attempt that apparently never went forward. Excellent sculling technique!

    https://youtu.be/t-UjxVYbkRg?t=1m5s

    Steve now lists Zimmy at the top of his 24 Hour Club list.

    thelittlemerwookie
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    I seem to recall a news photo of him floating on his back with a cigar in his mouth

    evmo

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited December 2017

    david_barra said: I seem to recall a news photo of him floating on his back with a cigar in his mouth

    Totally fair point. I honestly don't know how to fairly discount 2017 standards to 1937.

    At some point someone will want to swim from Albany to Manhattan nonstop... and they will probably want to claim to be the first... but were they?

    I'm glad i don't have to make these decisions.

    In the past month I've been asked what I think the longest (duration) nonstop open water swim is.

    Most of the very longest (duration) claimed swims were in rivers (Parana, Mississippi) in the 1930s and 1940s, especially several swims by Pedro Candioti and Antonio Abertondo.

    I don't know how to compare these swims (presumably not continuously observed/documented) with Sarah Thomas 104+ miles/ 67 hours in Lake Champlain in 2017, or Chloe McCardel 77 miles in the Caribbean in 2014.

    ssthomas
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    I think all these historical swims are fascinating, but there really is no way to compare them with (well documented) modern epic swims.

    Still, I think it would be good if some mention of them was given in the reporting of current record attempts.

    ssthomascurlygregoc

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    evmo said:

    https://youtu.be/t-UjxVYbkRg?t=1m5s

    The ice swimming grandma is of particular interest to some of the folks in these forums.

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

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