20 Bridges Circumnavigation Swim of Manhattan

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  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    Congrats Erika! <:-P

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member

    In brief, the swim reports will be predominantly based around the following highlights:

    • Somewhere before Hell Gate we were notified of an event called "Jet Ski Invasion" taking place later in the day.
    • NYPD, Launch 5, Agent Orange, the rest of the safety team, escorts, kayakers, and swimmer spent a long day dealing with the above.
    • In the Hudson, add a 15-20kts headwind to the jet skis. The wind eventually veered to the NW and died out.
    • Everyone finished.
    swimrn62KarenTIronMikekejoycessthomasSpacemanspiffSydneDrosemarymint

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • swimrn62swimrn62 NY, NYMember

    Sums it up good!!

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    edited June 2017

    malinaka said: In brief, the swim reports will be predominantly based around the following highlights:

    • Somewhere before Hell Gate we were notified of an event called "Jet Ski Invasion" taking place later in the day.
    • NYPD, Launch 5, Agent Orange, the rest of the safety team, escorts, kayakers, and swimmer spent a long day dealing with the above.
    • In the Hudson, add a 15-20kts headwind to the jet skis. The wind eventually veered to the NW and died out.
    • Everyone finished.

    Nice!

    For those still considering writing your experience up, some suggested topics:
    * Water temp
    * Logistics (getting your stuff to the boat)
    * How your crew fared
    * Did your feeding plan suffice?
    * What would you do different?

    Looking forward to meeting the NY Open Water crew next month!

    MaryStellaJSwim

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • JaimieJaimie NYCCharter Member

    I still can't believe those jetskis!

  • Spacemanspiff said: Found it https://track.rs/20Bridges/

    Is the same link that is used for each 20 Bridges event?

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin

    slknight said:

    Spacemanspiff said: Found it https://track.rs/20Bridges/

    Is the same link that is used for each 20 Bridges event?

    Yes

    slknight
  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member

    Devon Clifford has selflessly offered to crew for me. Was a great comfort, especially after taking a cruise around the island and seeing the real nature of it. Wow.

    Devon is also going to document the swim in realtime on my newly created instagram account steveSwimsfar so you can want see pick of everyone as the action happens!!

    bluemermaid9KNicholaswendyv34kejoyce

    "Lights go out and I can't be saved Tides that I tried to swim against Have brought be down upon my knees Oh I beg, I beg and plead..."

  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member

    Swim times around Manhattan seem to be significantly faster than previous years (MIMS v. 20 Bridges). Congratulations to Barra, Davies and Arèvalo who have dialed in the tides, currents and ferry departures (not uncommon for MIMS to have a 5 minute "ferry timeout" in the water during the swim). Difficult to compare swims from year to year due to varying start times, tidal conditions and fitness of swimmers but overall - appears to be massive improvement as a whole. Cheers guys!

    wendyv34SpacemanspiffTracy_Clarkdavid_barrabluemermaid9JayMaryStelladccliff
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited July 2017

    KNicholas said: Swim times around Manhattan seem to be significantly faster than previous years (MIMS v. 20 Bridges). ... appears to be massive improvement as a whole.

    I echo @KNicholas' congratulations on NYOW's fantastic success so far in taking over the Manhattan swim, arguably the most logistically difficult multi-participant marathon swim in the world.

    Regarding the times, it's not quite that simple. Running smaller groups allows an organizer / tide guru to optimize for a narrower range of speeds, compared to running 50 swimmers of widely varying speeds on the same day.

    thelittlemerwookieSpacemanspiffpavlicovSoloIronMikedavid_barrabluemermaid9JayMaryStellarlmdccliffssthomas
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    edited July 2017

    All along the way leading up to my swim on 22 July, everyone I spoke to about 20 Bridges told me the same thing. "The guys of NYOW will take care of you."

    Understatement of the year. These guys are awesome. How they can be so organized with so many moving parts is just amazing. Hats off to @david_barra, @Alex_Arevalo, @rondi. Sincerest thanks.

    To the Harlem and the Hudson rivers, a million thanks for the push. To the East river, I am sorry I did not give you the respect you deserve.

    To the marathon swimmers I met at o'dark thirty on Pier 25, it was a pleasure. If I weren't so damned nervous, I would have thought to take pictures.

    And finally, thanks to my boat pilot, Paul, my observer Hsi-Ling, my kayaker Agnes, and of course, my crew, my son Sam and daughter Maggie. Finally, all my family that showed up, 20+ loud and loving people I don't see enough, thank you. All in all, despite my DQ, an important learning experience for me in this crazy sport we all love.

    david_barrabluemermaid9timsrootJustSwimevmoJaimiemalinakaJSwimViveBenedccliffSolothelittlemerwookiejohnyGKNicholasBridget

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member

    IronMike said: All in all, despite my DQ, an important learning experience for me in this crazy sport we all love.

    @IronMike - I'm pleased to see you describe this as a DQ as opposed to a DNF. You by God did finish. For those who don't know, Mike did not make it through the Hell Gate before the tide turned. This is a critical spot in the swim, approximately 8 miles from the start. If you don't make it through in time, you're pretty much done. So (at least as I heard it, please feel free to correct if wrong), Mike got a lift for a few hundred meters through the "gate" and into the mouth of the Harlem. Then he got back in and finished, even though he knew it would be a DQ. I don't know many people who would do that, including me.

    At some point in the swim, I heard about your misfortune and I felt sad. I assumed you'd gotten out and were done with it, like a normal person. When I finished, I hung around the finish line (Greg Porteus, Captain of Launch No 5 was kind enough to let me disembark at Pier A). My wife told me your dot still looked like it was moving on the tracker. I hoped it was true and we all (my family and friends) stuck around to see if it was. It was GREAT to watch you come around that corner and finish. Nice job, brother. You endured a hell of a lot of suffering to finish what you started, even though you weren't going to get official credit. I doubt I'd have the stones. And all in front of your children. They will never forget that. Watching you finish was one of the highlights for me.

    timsrootJustSwimdavid_barraslknightIronMikeswimrn62MaryStellaJSwimViveBenedccliffflystormsrosemarymintkejoyceJaySoloMoCothelittlemerwookiecurlyBridgetBogdanZCopelj26

    "Lights go out and I can't be saved Tides that I tried to swim against Have brought be down upon my knees Oh I beg, I beg and plead..."

  • Sounds just like MIMS in 2013 without the other issues.Miss the tides at Hell's Gate and you are pretty much screwed. I wouldn't of had the guts to get back in the water and finish. Contrasts @IronMike .

    IronMike
  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member

    Same thing happened to me (and many others) during MIMS 2013). Well done for getting back in and finishing it @IronMike - it's a hard thing to do, but worth it for the pleasures of the journey and the satisfaction of crossing the finish line.

    Just because it's not a ratified swim doesn't mean that you still didn't do one hell of swim.

    JustSwimIronMikeViveBeneJay
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    Spacemanspiff said:

    ...(at least as I heard it, please feel free to correct if wrong), Mike got a lift for a few hundred meters through the "gate" and into the mouth of the Harlem.

    Thanks @Spacemanspiff, appreciate it. I believe it was a bit more than a few hundred, maybe more like a kilometer. Unfortunately, my Garmin won't sync to my chromebook, so I have to wait till I get back to Moscow on Thursday and look at the plots. The kayaker kept it going so I should be able to find the exact spot that her speed increased after she put her kayak on another boat and motored on up to Ward's Island Bridge.

    Thanks @JustSwim and @KarenT and all you other well-wishers out there. This is why I like this community. Welcoming and supportive. I cannot thank @Jaimie and my kayaker Agnes enough. Both came right up to me as I was sitting at Pier 25, hands shaking like crazy, and gave me big hugs and told me I'd do great. Really helped me psychologically.

    As for the DQ, I'm sure all of you guys would have done the same thing. A great day of swimming in great water with incredible support and safety cover is not something to pass up. I came a long way to swim, and swim was what I intended on doing. I just hoped I'd do it in one go and not with a break!

    I am and will remain eternally grateful that NYOW was even willing to let me continue to swim. And for the volunteers stuck on the boat for another 7-odd hours (guestimate) waiting for me to get my slow-a$$ back to Pier A, I cannot say thank you enough.

    evmoKarenTjendutswimrn62MaryStellaFrancoViveBenedavid_barradccliffrosemarymintJaySolothelittlemerwookiecurlyjohnyG

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • JaimieJaimie NYCCharter Member

    Congrats @Spacemanspiff and @IronMike! Mike, It was so wonderful to finally meet you and meet your awesome kids. We totally should have gotten a photo but even better excuse to make sure we meet up next time I'm in Russia! Enjoy the rest of your time in NYC and safe travels back to Moscow!

  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member
    edited July 2017

    IronMike said: All along the way leading up to my swim on 22 July, everyone I spoke to about 20 Bridges told me the same thing. "The guys of NYOW will take care of you."

    Understatement of the year. These guys are awesome. How they can be so organized with so many moving parts is just amazing. Hats off to @david_barra, @Alex_Arevalo, @rondi. Sincerest thanks.

    I will post a full swim report when I have the time, but I have such feelings of gratitude toward so many people I have to express some now, even though it might spoil some of the fun of my report.

    A major part of my attraction to open water swimming is that, to me, it has never been a team sport. I've never liked team sports and sports teams have never liked me. I feel pressure when people are counting on me and I'm uncomfortable asking for help (probably equal parts pride and fear of imposition). The thing I've always liked about OW swimming is being alone, immersed in nature, overcoming challenges on my own. What I experienced this last weekend changed my opinion about this subject. This was a team effort. And I don't mean just the event. I mean my swim. Which really can't be called "my swim" at all. Sure, I was the one in the water, but this was "our swim," and I was just playing a bit role.

    It all started with my friend, Devon Clifford ( @dccliff ). Actually, she's a "SCAR friend," which is a special kind of friend. If you've done SCAR, you know what I mean. For reasons I won't share here, I was really struggling with self-doubt and fear leading up to 20 Bridges. A week before my swim, Devon reached out to me on her own and asked if she could crew for me. I knew Devon was from NYC and I had thought about asking her, but didn't want to impose (see above). When she volunteered to crew for me, I was elated. It really lifted my spirits. To know I had a SCAR friend with her personality and experience fighting alongside gave me a huge confidence boost. I called my friend and kayaker, Ross Miller immediately and said, "Dude. Game changer. We just landed a total ringer. Devon Clifford is going to crew for us!"

    Then came my angel, @Rondi Davies, who I will forever remember as the "Swim Whisperer." About an hour into the warm, silty Harlem River, I was nauseous and vomiting every 10 minutes or so. My feeds wouldn't stay down long enough to do me any good. I was cramping in both hamstrings, both forearms and my right foot. My pace had slowed significantly and I was losing ground. I was in a dark, lonely [and a bit smelly] place. I wanted to quit. I told my kayaker, Ross, I was no longer swimming for time. Finishing was now the question and I didn't know the answer.

    Then the heavens opened and the angel appeared. @Rondi was in the water, swimming next to me. The effect was immediate. I was swimming next to the boss record holder for the fastest loop around Manhattan! I had to suck it up in the presence of such greatness! And that was before I knew about her magic mojo healing power. She matched me stroke for stroke (no small feat with my sub-50 stroke rate on a good day and 43 on that day) such that we made eye contact nearly every time I breathed on her side. I could tell she was doing this on purpose, which I thought was very cool. The video, below, shows her effort to match my pace and turn-over, while maintaining eye-contact but avoiding physical contact while I weaved about like a drunken sailor:

    She didn't really say anything. She didn't need to. She spoke to me through her calm, confident, angel face. I'm not sure the video picks it up, but there were actually harps playing in the background. Or maybe it was just the honking horns. Either way, my nausea subsided and my knotted muscles melted. She swam with me for what seemed like hours, all the way to the Hudson. She lifted me out of my physical and emotional gutter and got me back on pace. I have, quite literally, never experienced anything like it. It was magical. Someone told me @Rondi volunteers as a Swim Angel; a role for which she seems uniquely gifted. In the immortal words of LT Tom 'Iceman' Kazanski: "@Rondi, you can be my wingwoman anytime."

    Next was "Operation Gatorade." Even after my vomiting more or less subsided, the smell of my malto mix made me gag. My kayaker, Ross, gave up his personal Gatorade stash. After I polished off his first Bottle around Spuyten Duyvil, someone aboard Launch No. 5 tossed him his second (and last) bottle, but it hit the water and SANK!? The team scrambled into problem-solving mode. Ross gave Captain Greg his wife, Kara's, cell number. Captain Greg (or someone in his charge) called Kara who, along with my wife, were following us from shore. They, in turn, Ubered to a bodega for four more Gatorade bottles. Someone (Captain Greg or Safety Jet Skier Ed Riley) arranged a rendezvous at a Pier 79, where (according to Ed's account that he relayed to me after several beers at Harry's Italian later that night--he was buying so we'll go with his version) Kara hurled the bottles from the park deck to Ed, 30 feet below, who went 4-for-4, one-handed, while managing his Jet Ski with his free hand in 4-foot seas and a 5-knot current while being chased by the Giant's All-Pro Defensive End, Osi Umenyiora. Ed then delivered the bottles to Launch No. 5. Meanwhile, fellow Jet Skier and ubiquitous swim volunteer, Eri Utsunomiya (no relation), aware of my penchant for cold fluids, managed to score some ice to throw into the mix. Less than an hour after my last Gatorade bottle sank, I was sucking down some fresh, ice-cold, refreshing Gatorade as a result of the quick, selfless sacrifice of at least a half-dozen people.

    Even after two days, I haven't figured out what have I ever done to deserve such effort from so many people. And sorry to all of the other swimmers for hogging so many volunteers for my little problem.

    Back to Devon. When we hit the Hudson, @Rondi got out of the water and Devon got in. While Rondi was an angel, Devon was like the devil's spawn (and I mean that it the most SCAR friendish sense, Devon). Instead of swimming with me, she climbed onto my back and began to mercilessly whip me with a spare tether line (is that an MSF Rule violation?) Eri pulled up to deliver a cold Gatorade and asked if I needed anything else, to which I responded, "Yes, please. Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia, a shot of your finest whiskey and 40 milligrams of Vicodin, but not the timed-released kind." While it made Eri laugh, Devon was having none of it, "Dammit, Steve. Shut yer pie hole! If I see it open again, I'm shoving an f***ing pie in it!" Later, "Don't you even know how to swim on your back while you eat?! Are you dense?" "You've only got one left to beat, but you''re never gonna get there if you keep swimming like a fat old man!" [In defense of Devon's honor, every word of this paragraph after "Devon got in" is fictional. Mostly.]

    I even have to thank the NYPD. After Devon whipped me into the lead like a cruel and heartless jockey, I inherited the NYPD escort vessel, flashing lights, sirens and all. So here I am, swimming down the freaking Hudson River, accompanied by my dear friend Ross Miller, next to the storied Launch No. 5, filled with the likes of Retired 9/11-era NYPD officer Greg Porteous, @Rondi "The Swim Whisperer" Davies, SCAR-Friend-for-life Devon Clifford, and Roy " @Malinaka 's dad" Malinak, with my wife, friends and even my 86-year-old dad (this was, I KID YOU NOT, the FIRST athletic event of mine that my dad has EVER attended) on the shore cheering me in. How could this moment get any better? [Cue the police boat]. Oh. Yes. There's that.

    I'm ashamed to admit that I've tended to receive the "team effort" label in marathon swimming as a tad disingenuous. Never in the context of race directors, their staff or the volunteers that make the events possible, mind you. I'd like to think I've never undervalued their contribution. I mean more on the individual performance level. Like when I read a race report and someone says, "It was really a team effort." I've always been like, "eeeYeaaah, but this is really on you, right?"

    Not anymore. I am so humbled and grateful for each person who contributed to my success that I actually feel a bit dishonest claiming any responsibility at all. I literally think anyone could have filled my role in this equation. Without each of you, I'd probably still be sitting on Mill Rock at this very moment, crying for my mommy. Instead, I'm sitting at my desk, weeping for the love all y'all (It's Texan, Google for translation) showed me on Saturday.

    So I echo @ironmike 's comments. I signed up for this event mostly because of the fine reputation of NYOW, @david_barra @rondi and @Alex_Arevalo. But what I found was so much more than that. Thank you all for delivering one of the most significant days of my life. I mean that.

    This went on longer than I expected. There are others who need to be thanked, and will be in my full report, but these are some I had to thank immediately!!

    ViveBenedavid_barraIronMikegrappledunkflystormsrosemarymintwendyv34hmeermanjendutJustSwimevmoKate_Alexanderbluemermaid9dccliffcurlyJayKNicholasBridgetrondisteffieCopelj26

    "Lights go out and I can't be saved Tides that I tried to swim against Have brought be down upon my knees Oh I beg, I beg and plead..."

  • You did it @Spacemanspiff !!! Proud to have been a part of your success :)

    wendyv34
  • Another great and amazing write up @spacemanspiff of an outstanding swim!

  • Well done to Aussie Julie Isbill who has now done the Triple Crown (#150)

    db.marathonswimmers.org/p/julie-isbill/

    She swam the 20 Bridges just 12 days after swimming the Catalina Channel (English Channel June 2016).

    Here's links to her report of two of her swims.

    20 Bridges Manhattan

    Catalina Channel

    evmoSpacemanspiffwendyv34IronMikeJaimiethelittlemerwookie
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    Good luck to all the swimmers!

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    @Spacemanspiff I sure enjoy your writing!

    KNicholas
  • Dear Open Water Friends,

    In 2018, NYOW will offer four 20 Bridges swim dates over four weekends between June and September. Each event will have up to 15 swimmers and will be scheduled on a Saturday with Sunday reserved as a rain date. Swimmers and their support teams will need to make themselves available on both days.

    Dates

    Saturday, June 30 [rain date Sunday, July 1] [Pier A Start]

    Saturday, July 14 [rain date Sunday, July 15] [Pier A Start]

    Saturday, August 25 [rain date Sunday, August 26] [Pier A Start]

    Saturday, September 8 14 [rain date Sunday, September 9] [Mill Rock Start]

    Timeline

    November 1   20 Bridges registration opens at 12 PM EDT December 1   Date assignments will be announced. December 15    Deposits are due. Registrants may lose their swim slot if they are late with their payment and we have a wait list for this date. April 1 Final payment balance is due. Crew registration must be completed by this time.

    For more visit: https://www.nyopenwater.org/20-bridges-swim/

    swimrn62slknightevmopavlicovJaimiedavid_barraIronMikeKarenTSpacemanspiffssthomasKatieBunmalinakabluemermaid9MaryStellasteffie
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