Swim Report - Manhattan Island Marathon Swim 2015

CoppermillCoppermill TravellingMember
edited August 2015 in Swim Reports

NYC Swim represent the annual 28.5 Mile Manhattan Island Marathon Swim; a full counter-clockwise circumnavigation of the island of Manhattan on 28th July 2015

4:30am, We met at pier 25 where Pat and his wife were already there. We met Amanda and a few others too.

Louise is Bryan's observer
Joe is the boat pilot
Rich is the Kayaker

At 5am Bryan got in the water, it was dark (quick minute to lighten the load - too much information Bryan...!)

5:03 and he's off!

Joe tells Jody he has done this support many times and Rich has been doing this for 20 years.

Louise says Bryan is lucky to have Rich as his kayaker as he is very experienced. The original kayaker pulled out at the last minute.

We can see Lady Liberty in the distance. What a fabulous way to see New York, it is beautiful.

5:20 The sun is coming up now. Rich asked the boat to move as the fumes are drifting over to him and Bryan.

5:25 Bryan is just swimming under the Brooklyn Bridge

5:30 Now Manhattan Bridge, water temperature is 22.8c (73.1f)

5:40 Going under the Williamsburgh bridge now. Joe says is 4.5 knots of current with us

5:45 The Empire State building and the Chrysler Building are in sight now.
Current back to 2.9 knots

5:47 Bryan just took a feed

6:00 Sunrise now - its lovely

6:14 Rich isn't feeding as per schedule as he fed Bryan 20 minutes early. Jody had a brief chat with him. His watch is almost 10 minutes fast!
Apparently The Trophy told everyone to feed their swimmers but the others left before Bryan so they are now clear of the busy area. Don't think they meant feed Bryan as well!
Jody told Rich he must give Bryan a five minute feed warning.

6:21 Passing the United Nations building. Bryan took, 150ml mango shake and 200 ml SiS

6:28 Going under 59th St bridge passed Roosevelt Island. Water temperature 21.6c (71f). Feeds all replenished for next change over.
Just passed Pat and Susie who started off before us.

6:35 NYPD asked us to move over too far out!
Hells Gate in view now.
Big boat coming up fast behind us now, going to create a big wave.
Seeing runners along the water front. There are a few well wishers out too. Clapping and cheering. I think some of them are homeless sleeping by the river.

Louise has explained about the boat named Trophy which is with us. Morty and Dave Nelson are on it and between them they officiate the course. Watching currents and liaising with NYPD and waterways officials to ensure safety of all the swimmers. Good to know

6:51 Bryan not fed yet. What is Rich doing? The feeding isn't as smooth as it should be. Rich isn't focused umm! need to have another word. Ok my mistake. Louise said he did eat at 6:50. Sorry Rich. Bryan took a gel too.

6:58 Hells Gate - Joe says it's not too bad today. Some days it's really bad with the currents.
Bryan pushes through, knowing he is against the current now and picks up his pace.

7:10 Through Hells Gate easy!
Easy for Jody to say from the boat that is. It really is a lovely day. Really lovely as the East river splits off and we head up the Harlem River.

7:20 Bryan took a feed of 300 ml of Mange shake.
The tide is against us now as we head up the Harlem River. Bryan wants to change his goggles on the next feed.

7:30 Some workman want us to change the Union Jack for the Stars and Stripes.
Bryan goes very close to the wall in order to reduce the tide that is now against him.
Water temperature rising it's 24c (75.1f) now.
Getting warm on the boat too.

7:40 Jody found a darker pair of goggles which she has given to Rich. Bryan can choose which pair he wants.
Rich explained the workmen wanted to know why we were not flying the US flag. He explained British people don't!
Sticking to the wall here now around the pier and back by the wall again.

7:50 Bryan had 250ml of SiS he's had 2 gels changed his goggles too.

8:16 Been going just over 3 hours now.
It is so hot even this early.

8:18 Third boat which Pat was on has dropped right back now.
We are just about to go under the Tri-borough bridge. Don't know if that's its real name or just what Joe calls it. Bryan took a short cut under it but Louise had a little panic when we had to go around the buttress and we lost sight. Bryan thought the same, oh the boat can't see me here I could have a rest. But no rest for the swimmers, they just keep swimming on.

8:20 Jody updated Glympse (GPS tracker going over the internet). We have four hours on it again now so everyone can see where we are.
Almost half way Jody reckons.

8:26 Going under Willis Avenue bridge

8:36 Going under 3rd Avenue bridge.
Some more workmen waving us on. Jody thinks they want to join them on the boat. Bryan is also waving back at the workmen while he is swimming.

9:00 Just gone under the Macombs Dam bridge, past the Yankee Stadium.
The water is yuk here. Lots of slick floating on the top.
The third boat hasn't reappeared hope Pat is okay?
Lots of message on Facebook:

Steve Williams - come on Bryan..hurry up !
Lynne Brydon - Yankee Stadium smile emoticon, smile emoticon, hugs to Bryan on the finish line
Andrew Smith - Sorry I missed the start good luck Bryan.
Anju Verma Lakhani - Hats off to u too Jody!!
Rhona Fry - Good luck Bryan Avery, can't wait for the finished update! X
Zoe Forman - Jody are you following on land or on the water ? Keep us updated tracker a bit wobbly
Zoe Forman - Looking at the pictures and the fact that I can be seasick on a canal boat I'd rather swim !
Cheryl Ann Payne - Good luck Bryan Avery x
Richard Dutton - Keep going Bryan
Ian Smith - Good luck, have a great swim Bryan
Kathy Batts - I hope you enjoy it as much as I did - keep your mouth shut in the East River - Yuk - Double Yuk x x
Roger Soulsby - 4mph or over 6km/ hr !!! V elegant tracker too. Hope the tide keeps working for you.
Anita van Eijndhoven - Wow Bryan, you're flying along. Good luck, stay safe and enjoy
Billy Dyer - Good luck Bryan

9:20 Bryan took a feed of shake. Nice stretch of river coming up to High Bridge. The city's oldest standing bridge it has a footbridge over the top. It has been shut for over 40 years and only just reopened on 9th June 2015. Built in 1861. Highbridge Tower is to the left in Highbridge park. More workmen waving.

9:32 The Alexander Hamilton Bridge.
Then the Washington Bridge immediately after - not to be confused with George.
Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill - for now he may end up gone and replaced by a woman! He was president at one time and one of the founding fathers and established the first US bank.

9:50 Feed due - Rich was late with it again..!.
Boat just went past. Everyone sped into action.
Replenished Bryan with flat coke and peaches as well as his usual staff.

10:15 Just gone under Henry Hudson bridge. There is another bridge straight after it that we will have to stop at whilst a train goes over it - the Spuyten Duyvil Swing Bridge.
Bryan and the kayaker can go under it though.
The support boat had to wait in the shade of the Hudson Bridge. (Thank you Henry).
Bryan had requested tea on his next feed but we lost all the hot water before Bryan's swim had even started! Luckily we had made up iced tea and added maple syrup to it last night so he can have that.
As we have to wait to meet up again and it could be a while before the support boat sees Bryan again, Jody sent Rich off with SiS, Mango shake, flat coke, tea, Strawberry shake, peaches and mouthwash. So he has it all!

Out of sight of the support boat for approximately 45 minutes, Rich - the Kayaker took Bryan close to the banks of the Hudson. This confused Bryan as the water was flowing out faster in the middle of the river and he could make use of the current. He questioned the kayaker but Rich replied saying he always does this route it;s much faster, Bryan was not convinced.

Bryan's hand hit the kayakers paddle, no damage, but the kayaker was much too close to him, and has been for most of the swim. Back off Rich!

Bryan then headed out towards the centre of the river where he should have been all along!

Incidentally, the other swimmers were taken straight out to the centre. Was was Rich thinking??.

10:45 The bridge finally opened after the Amtrak train went over it.
The boat had to speed up to catch Bryan up. Glad they sent Rich off with all that feed.

It's lovely out on the Hudson. It's extremely hot but there is a nice gentle breeze too.
Bryan is doing really well and the third boat has made it out on to the Hudson too. Come on Pat
The water seems cleaner here than the Harlem River which can only be a good thing.

Three helicopters flew over us and then a few minutes later, flew back. I don't think they were giving us a fly past - just doing their thing.

11:36 Jody is a bit detached from the feeds all she can do is ensure Rich has everything on the list and hope he gives it to Bryan in the right order. She is not convinced.
It's incredibly hot on the boat - we are fighting over the shade. Jody does not know how they are coping on the little boat. They don't have a toilet either.
Going further down the Hudson it has started to get really choppy not from the choppy sea but from the waves made by the boats. Mainly the ferries.
Everything is melting on the boat

The water temperature is 26.3c (79.4f) and the air is 30c (86f) Joe reckons it will hit 32c (90f) Bryan back looks really red. Jody had put a lot of sun cream on him at the start so she hoped he wasn't burning.
The police shot off at one point to stop a little speed boat that was speeding our way a bit too quick. Bryan had his jelly on this feed but is has all melted and is a bit warm. But everything is warm.

Going past pier 40, Louise explained you can take free kayaks from there.

13:06 Going past the Harlem Tunnel vent buildings - they have one on the opposite shore too. Ugly.
We are just over 8 hours now. As we get nearer the end there are a few more people out along the sea wall.

13:30 Louise got all the onlookers to cheer and clap as Bryan came in.
The Trophy sped ahead of us to oversee the finish.
Eight hours 29 minutes and 54 seconds
Bryan was done!

Well Done Bryan - Congratulations

Another great swim under your belt

Simon Holmes - Well done mate, great time too.
Cheryl Ann Payne - Well done buddy x
Andrew Smith - Well done shipmate!
Carol Clarke - Well done Bryan
Zoe Forman - Awesome what a tour smile emoticon
Dawn Brunning - Brilliant job. And now you eat sleep and enjoy the city smile emoticon
Birgit Eijkhout - 8.30?!! you rock Bryan, just brilliant. Enjoy NYC and your beautiful woman x
Paula Cherriman - Brilliant swim. What a star xx
Lorraine Mackie - Just got in from work, no Internet so missed all the updates. Good job. X
Cathryn Robbins - Well done! Another one under your belt X
Nigel Robbins - Superstar
Eric Eijkhout - Big respect here, glad not any planes landed on your head!
Zara Bullen - Awesome work Mr A!! Xx

Offical time 08:29:54

The Course
The Manhattan race starts and finishes at South Cove in Battery Park City on the Hudson River. Solo and relay swimmers may also start and finish at East 96th Street and Spuyten Duyvil.
Swimmers begin at South Cove, navigate around the Battery then head north up the East River, counter-clockwise around Manhattan Island. They swim north into the Harlem River, through Spuyten Duyvil, and then south down the Hudson River to the Battery. There are 4 check points: Hell's Gate where the East River meets the Harlem River, Spuyten Duyvil where the Harlem River meets the Hudson River, the 79th Street Boat Basin in the Hudson River, and the World Financial Center.

First Leg - The East River: Swimmers proceed up the East River under the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge. Just beyond the second bridge in the East River (the Manhattan Bridge), the swimmers steer clear of the pier near the prison barge by adjusting the course towards the center of the river. On the left side of the river, at 23rd Street, swimmers watch for float planes taking off and landing. The planes dock at the marina near the "Gulf" sign.
The swimmers continue up the East River through the west channel (Manhattan side), passing by Roosevelt Island. Swimmers are advised to keep to the Manhattan side of the Channel throughout the entire East River.

Second Leg - The Harlem River: Swimmers then head towards the leftmost stanchion on the footbridge at the entrance to the Harlem River at Hell's Gate. This is their first check point. Once they have entered the Harlem River, they will stay to their left. The swimmers take all bridges on their leftmost channel, allowing enough room for the Circle Line and other boat traffic to pass.
Final Leg -The Hudson River: At Spuyten Duyvil, where the Harlem River joins the Hudson River, the swimmers pass their second check point. They head down the Hudson River towards the George Washington Bridge, staying about one-third of the way from the Manhattan side. After coming under the GW Bridge, the swimmers must stay as far enough out from shore so that they are not swept into the sewage disposal plant, which protrudes out about a quarter of a Mile. This plant spans 10 blocks, from 145th to 135th Street.

The swimmers continue down the Hudson River on the Manhattan side. Their third check point is opposite the 79th Street Boat Basin. The swimmers are advised to stay on the Manhattan side of the river. As they come down the Hudson River, the swimmers must be careful of boats coming out of the piers, especially between 50th and 23rd streets. Swimmers are not allowed to swim closer than 20 yards to the end of any pier.

Their fourth check point is opposite the financial centre. The swimmers then swim along the seawall and turn into South Cove and stroke by the cheering crowds to the finish.




  • Janine S was kind enough to not only put me up but took some LOVELY pics of the day.
    My report .. for what it's worth..

    • I swam as hard as I could , as long as I could.. didn't ask questions, didn't stop to chat.( REALLY!!) fed fast.. had a great kayaker, perfect crew... a perfect day and well timed tides.*
      I remember zipping through Spuyten Dyuvel, no issues at Hell's gate.. and ended up swimming the last 15 -20 min one armed.. again. but was FLYING down the Hudson.
      Done and dusted.
  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    Congrats to all who did this! I'm in awe! Great job!

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