Tag Archives: NYC Swim

Ederle Swim 2013

By Vladimir Brezina

Under the Verrazano Narrows BridgeOn Sunday a week ago, August 18th, I found myself once more in my kayak accompanying a long-distance swimmer through New York Harbor.

It was the day of this year’s Ederle Swim, a 17.5 -mile open-water swim from Manhattan to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, organized by NYC Swim. This year’s swim was in fact the centennial swim, since the first successful swim over that course, after a number of failed attempts, occurred a hundred years ago almost to the day, on August 28th, 1913.

My swimmer this year was Barbara Held, from San Diego, California. Having completed her Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming—the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, the Catalina Channel, and the English Channel—Barbara was looking for new challenges!

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Thank You, NYC Swim

By Vladimir Brezina

IMGP7910 cropped small 2Unlike Johna, I’ve been reluctant to write too much about myself on Wind Against Current. Who would want to read that stuff?  And now I don’t have to write anything—NYC Swim has done it for me.

In each issue of their Cross Currents Newsletter, they profile a particular swimmer, or sometimes a volunteer, such as a kayaker, who has worked extensively with them. And so the latest issue of the newsletter features a piece entitled Volunteer of the Week: Vladimir Brezina

It’s got something about what I do when I am not kayaking, or blogging. So, if you want to read such stuff, there it is! :-)

Manhattan Island Marathon Swim 2013: Photos

By Vladimir Brezina

IMGP4221 cropped smallEach summer, NYC Swim organizes a series of shorter and longer swims in New York City’s waterways. The premier event is the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (MIMS), a 28.5-mile race around Manhattan. Along with the English Channel and Catalina Channel swims, it is one of the three swims in the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming.

Each swimmer is accompanied by a kayaker (as well as a motor boat). So on Saturday a week ago, I kayaked around Manhattan with swimmer Katy Dooley. Katy already knew all about swimming around Manhattan, having swum in MIMS in 2011 as well as 2012—but in both cases as part of a relay. This was going to be her first solo round-Manhattan swim.

This year’s MIMS turned out to be interesting, to say the least. Due to a cascading series of problems, some traceable all the way back to last year’s Hurricane Sandy, others to the unseasonably cold water, and still others to the heavy rains in the previous couple of days, only 11 of the 39 solo swimmers completed the entire swim unassisted.

But Katy was one of them! She powered through, finishing 5th (and 2nd woman) in 7 hours, 44 minutes. And by completing her swim around Manhattan, she became only the 69th swimmer to join the elite club of Triple Crown open water swimmers. A major accomplishment on a very difficult day—and inspiring to watch from close up!

I’ll write more about the swim in a future post. (My writeups of MIMS 2011 and 2012 are here and here.) But in the meantime, here are some of the photographic highlights of MIMS 2013.

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Manhattan Island Marathon Swim 2012: Follow the Red Herring!

By Vladimir Brezina
(Title suggestion by Johna Till Johnson)

Each summer, NYC Swim organizes a series of short and longer swims in New York City’s waterways. The premier event is the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (MIMS), a 28.5-mile race around Manhattan. Along with the English Channel and Catalina Channel swims, it is one of the three swims in the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming.

Each swimmer is accompanied by a kayaker (as well as a motor boat). Last year, I kayaked for the Lone Starlettes, four women from Texas swimming as a relay. And two of the Starlettes, Gretchen Sanders and Pamela LeBlanc, must have had a good time, because they wanted to return this year and repeat the experience as a two-person relay, The Texas Two-Step.

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Ederle Swim 2011, Round Three

By Vladimir Brezina

NYC Swim‘s Ederle Swim, the ~17-mile open-water swim through New York Harbor between Manhattan and Sandy Hook, NJ, has become very popular. This year, there have been no fewer than three of them. And each one set a new record.

First, in June 2011, Liz Fry swam from Manhattan to Sandy Hook and back, becoming the first swimmer ever to complete a double Ederle Swim—and, in the process, setting records for both individual directions as well.

Then in August, Lance Ogren, swimming with a fast ebb current in the wake of Hurricane Irene, shattered Liz’s Manhattan-to-Sandy Hook record by almost an hour.

I was one of the kayakers accompanying both Liz and Lance on these swims (see my writeups and photos here and here).

And now, Round Three! Last Sunday we had the main, yearly Ederle Swim for multiple swimmers—19 swimmers started—but in the other direction, from Sandy Hook to Manhattan. The winner of this race was looking to beat Liz’s other individual record!

This time I was the kayaker for Janet Harris, in her very first Ederle Swim. Here are some annotated photos from my kayaker’s perspective. Janet has posted her own account of her swim here.

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A Post-Hurricane Swim Into the Record Books

By Vladimir Brezina

NYC Swim‘s premier long-distance swim, the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, has become an institution in the world of long-distance swimming.  But its younger sibling, the Ederle Swim between Manhattan and Sandy Hook, New Jersey, is still growing, full of surprising twists and turns.

In October 2010, the top two finishers in the Ederle Swim were Lance Ogren and Liz Fry. This year, each of them went on to swim their own exclusive version of the Ederle Swim. In June 2011, Liz completed an unprecedented 35-mile double Ederle Swim from Manhattan to Sandy Hook and back. In an amazing swim, she set records not only for the overall course but for each of the two individual directions as well.

A few days ago, in August 2011, Lance set out to break the record—now Liz’s record—for the Manhattan to Sandy Hook direction.

I was one of the two kayakers accompanying Lance on his swim. Here are some photos and a brief account.

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Manhattan Island Marathon Swim 2011: The Lone Starlettes Take Manhattan

By Vladimir Brezina

When people say incredulously “OMG, you kayak in THAT water? And you just went all the way around Manhattan??”, I often reply, “People SWIM in that water… all the way around Manhattan!!”

(Clearly, I might have to rethink this reply, although not the sentiment, after this summer’s sewage disaster…)

Each year, NYC Swim puts thousands of swimmers into that water for a series of short and longer swims in New York City’s waterways. Their premier event each summer is the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (MIMS), a 28.5-mile race around Manhattan. Along with the English Channel and Catalina Channel swims, it is one of the three swims in the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming.

The Lone Starlettes scoping out the Battery from the land side beforehand: (left to right) Pam LeBlanc, Katy Dooley, Leslie Blanke, Gretchen Sanders

In this year’s MIMS, on June 18, 2011, I was the kayaker for a relay team, the Lone Starlettes (no prizes for guessing which state they are from    ): Katy Dooley, Gretchen Sanders, Pam LeBlanc, and Leslie Blanke. Here’s how it went…

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Liz Fry’s “Triple Crown”: Three Records in Round-Trip Manhattan-Sandy Hook Swim

By Vladimir Brezina

In October 2010, Liz Fry swam in NYC Swim‘s Ederle Swim, a 17.5-mile tide-assisted swim through New York Harbor from Manhattan to Sandy Hook, New Jersey.  Yet when she reached Sandy Hook, she wasn’t all that tired. As all the swimmers were getting onto their accompanying motor boats to return to Manhattan, Liz thought to herself, “Isn’t the tide soon going to turn back toward Manhattan again? Why don’t I just swim back?” And so in 2011 she did.

On June 14, 2011, Liz became the first person ever to complete a Two-Way Ederle Swim, the 35-mile swim from Manhattan to Sandy Hook and back again, in 11 hours, 5 minutes, and 7 seconds.   And on top of that, she set new records for each direction. She made it from Manhattan to Sandy Hook in just 4 hours, 59 minutes, 6 seconds, beating her 2010 time and, by 7 minutes, the previous record of Tammy van Wisse of Australia. And she made it back in just 6 hours, 6 minutes, 1 second—also a record, and not a bad time for someone who had already completed a 17.5-mile swim!

I was one of the two kayakers who accompanied Liz as she completed this  feat. Here’s the swim from a kayaker’s perspective:

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