CALL FOR NOMINATIONS - 2017 Barra Award for Best Overall Year

evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
edited November 2017 in Admin Communications

Please submit your nominations for the Barra Award, by commenting on this thread. Anonymous/private nominations are accepted via the contact form, but this is generally discouraged in favor of public nominations.

The Barra Award, named after David Barra, recognizes the marathon swimmer (one male, one female) with the most impressive year of marathon swimming, all considered. The Barra Award considers an individual’s full body of work in the sport, including swims, event organizing, community-building, leadership, and other contributions.

In your nominations, please explain why the individual deserves the nomination.

Finalists will be selected on the basis of community support, as measured by "Likes." So, if you agree with a nomination and want to "second" it, click the "Like" button on that nomination. Nominations will remain open for approximately three weeks.

Previous years' finalists for the Barra Award (winners indicated in bold):


  • David Barra
  • Darren Miller
  • Anna-Carin Nordin
  • Stephen Redmond
  • Grace van der Byl

2013 - female

  • Anna Wardley
  • Anna-Carin Nordin
  • Kimberley Chambers
  • Sarah Thomas

2013 - male

  • Darren Miller
  • John Walker
  • Mo Siegel

2014 - female

  • Emma France
  • Elaine Howley
  • Charlotte Samuels

2014 - male

  • Anthony McCarley
  • Rohan More
  • Mo Siegel

2015 - female

  • Bridgette Hobart
  • Jaimie Monahan
  • Sarah Thomas

2015 - male

  • Andrew Malinak
  • Craig Lenning
  • Mark Sheridan

2016 - female

  • Caroline Block (Maryland, USA)
  • Devon Clifford (New York, USA)
  • Chloe McCardel (Australia)
  • Jaimie Monahan (New York, USA)

2016 - male

  • Dan Simonelli (California, USA)
  • Mark Spratt (Indiana, USA)
  • Philip Yorke (England)

The MSF Global Marathon Swimming Awards, now in their sixth year, are the only peer-nominated, peer-voted awards for the sport of marathon swimming.



  • rondirondi Member
    edited November 2017

    We would like to nominate Abigail Fairman for the MSF Barra Award.

    Abby has had an incredible year of swimming, support, and service to marathon swimming.

    Between April and October Abby covered 259 race miles and over 100 hours of marathon swimming in 13 events across the US and Bermuda. This included completing SCAR (41.7 miles in four days) and 8 Bridges (120 miles in eight days) and events on the same or consecutive weekends. The events were:

    Event Miles Time Place/Notes
    SCAR 41.7 19:14:39 2nd overall / 1st Female; 1 of 4 to finish the full distance
    2 Bridges 3.1 1:16:58 6th overall / 2nd Female
    8 Bridges 120 39:10:07 5th overall / 11th person to complete
    Poseidon Swim (Indy) 1.25 0:32:54 20th overall / 1st F40-49
    Kingdom Swim 15.5 7:29:43 9th overall / 4th Female
    Rose Pitonof 17 4:42:00 1st overall / 3rd fastest course time
    Lake George 10K 6.2 3:03:39 11th overall / 2nd Female
    Valley Forge Marathon 8 4:01:12 7th overall / 4th Female
    CIBBOWS 3-2-1 3.1 1:26:25 8th overall / 1st F40-45
    Spuyten Duyvil 10K 6.5 1:36:30 43rd overall / 5th F40-49
    3 Rivers Marathon 18.6 9:07:34 4th overall / 1st Female
    Swim Around Charleston 12 5:22:38 18th overall / 7th Female
    Round the Sound 6.2 3:04:26 22nd overall / 5th F40-59

    Not only are Abby’s endurance and athletic accomplishments amazing, she is a serious competitor whose sportsmanship defines her as a great ambassador for our sport. Abby coaches the Red Tide Masters in NYC and actively encourages participation in open water events near and far. More than 40 Red Tide swimmers took to the open water this summer and of that 15 completed their career longest open water swims. This included six who finished a marathon distance of 10K or longer and one who at the age of 72 completed her first 8K. Abby’s commitment to OWS has no limits. In addition to Coaching and Swimming she found time to volunteer as an NYOW observer for (2) 20 Bridge swims, crew another 20 Bridge event for her Red Tide teammate and organized and led (2) open water beach sessions for pool swimmers new to open water swimming.

    The true testament for Abby’s nomination, is that this submission was not the idea of, or written by one person. We all, Race Director, Fellow Competitors from around the USA and Overseas, Kayakers, and Volunteers, join together in unison and stand behind Abigail Fairman as the 2017 MSF Barra Award Nominee.

    Rondi Davies-NYC, Jamie Tout-Swmr-Tx, Ed Riley-Swmr-NYC,Devon Clifford-Swmr-NY, Harry Finger-Swmr-Ilhabela, Brazil, Steve Gruenwald-Swmr-Faribault, MN, John Hughes-Swmr-CT, Marta Izo-Swmr- Sao Paulo, Brazil, Manuela Jessel-Yakker-NYC, Luis Lopez-Yakker-NYC, Agnes Michalek-Yakker-NYC, Graco Morlan-Swmr-Mexico City, Mexico, Liz Morrish-Vol-NYS,Stephen Rouch-Swmr-IN, Flavio Toi-Swmr-Campinas, Brazil, Michele Walters-Swmr-Washington DC

    evmoKarl_KingeryedwardLynnkubJayKarenTJustSwimj9swimJSwimLori_kand 34 others.
  • LynnkubLynnkub Charter Mem​ber

    I would like to nominate John "the Butterfly Beast" Batchelder for the Barra Award. 2017 WAS EPIC:

    Karl_KingeryJustSwimlakesprayJSwimssthomasrondidavid_barraMaryStellaedwardbatchesand 6 others.
  • lakespraylakespray Senior Member
    edited November 2017

    More on John Batchelder:

    For decades Coors Banquet Beer used the slogan “Brewed with pure Rocky Mountain Spring Water”
    That may also be the case of John Batchelder the latest marathon swimming Phenom to come out of Colorado. There certainly must be something in the water as the state has also produced previous Barra award winners Craig Lenning and Sarah Thomas. What John has done this year truly is truly phenomenal, so I nominate him for this year’s male Barra Award for Best Overall year. Please note, although Marathon Swimming Federations (MSF) recognizes swim they don’t necessarily recognize the stroke done. That being said most of the following swims were done butterfly. Those of us who know John, also know when he says he swam it fly, he indeed swam it fly.

    • April 2, he completed the 2017 24-mile (38.6 km) Tampa Bay Marathon Swim in Florida swimming all butterfly in 14 hours 41 minutes. He is the first to complete this event in butterfly
    • April 22 he finished seventh in the 7-mile (11.2 km) Swim Around Lido Key, the USMS Marathon Distance Open Water National Championship in freestyle.
    • April 26-29, he competed in the 2017 S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge in Arizona: Saguaro Lake, 25th overall in 4 hours 2 minutes all butterfly + Canyon Lake, 30th overall in 4 hours 40 minutes all butterfly + Roosevelt Lake, 27th overall in 3 hours 33 minutes (DNF to conditions, race halted due to wind by race officials).
    • June 17, 2017, he completed the 36.5-mile (58 km) END WET marathon swim in the Red River of North Dakota swimming butterfly in 13 hours 55 minutes
    • July 9, 2017, he completed the 17 km Portland Bridge Swim in Oregon in 4 hours 59 minutes at the age of 36 all butterfly.
    • July 16, Castle 10K, Bailey, Colorado
    • August 19, he finished fourth in the 28.5-mile (45.8 km) 20 Bridges Manhattan Island Swim in New York City in 7 hours 36 minutes 30 seconds at the age of 36 butterfly.
    • September 17, he completed the first all-butterfly swim 25 miles across Lake Memphremagog from Newport, Vermont, USA to Magog, Quebec, Canada in 17 hours 9 minutes at the age of 36.
    • September 23, he completed the 19 mile Three Rivers Marathon Swim in the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela Rivers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 10 hours 10 minutes 40 seconds, finishing 8th overall while swimming butterfly.
    • October 1, the 12-mile around Charleston, SC swimming butterfly.
    • October 14, Swim the Suck, 10-mile swim in the Tennessee River

    In addition to all the marathon swims, John managed to complete all four open water races of the Colorado based Mountain Swim Series, maximum length of 3-miles and swam a full slate of USMS pool events including; postal swims, state and national Championships.

    Finally John also experienced the agony of marathon swimming including a DNF on the Catalina Channel due to illness and a Catalina attempt canceled due to weather.
    John did so much this year I may have missed something so chime on anything not mentioned.

    Copelj26JSwimssthomasKarl_KingeryLynnkubrondiMaryStellaedwardMoCoForeverSwimand 5 others.
  • I would like to nominate Steve Rouch for the 2017 MSF Barra Award.

    Steve had an impressive season in 2016 (85 racing miles) but it pales in comparison to his 2017 season. Every month was another monumental marathon swim. Most of us count ourselves fortunate if we have one great swim a season. Steve had 16 of them.

    In April Steve finished first overall in the S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge for the second year in a row. He won both the Canyon and Apache swims.

    In May Steve was 5th overall in the Chattanooga Swim Fest 9.2 Mile USMS National Championship. In winning his age group in this event Steve earned an USMS All American designation.

    In June Steve won all 7 stages of the 193 km 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim. He set the men’s record for cumulative time and the men’s records for stage 2 and stage 5. Grace van der Byl is the only other person to win all 7 stages of 8 Bridges.

    In July Steve was 2nd overall, and 1st male in the 25 km Border Buster up at the Kingdom Swim.

    In August Steve was 6th overall and 2nd in his age group in the Swim to the Moon 10K in Hell, Michigan.

    In September Steve participated in the Warrior Weekend, coming in 1st overall in the CIBBOWS 3-Mile Tipple Dip. The following day Steve revisited the Hudson and was 7th overall in the Spuyten Duyvil 10.5K. The following weekend Steve and John Humenik tied for 1st in the Three Rivers 30K Marathon Swim, setting a new course record for their efforts.

    Steve concluded his open water season by tying for 2nd overall with John Humenik, Valerie Teany and Victoria Rian in the Swim the Suck 10 Mile Swim in October.

    All told Steve swam 24 open water races this season, 16 of these races qualifying as marathon swims. His marathon swims counted for 228 miles out of his 242 racing miles.

    Steve is a pretty fast pool swimmer too. He won his age group in the USMS 1 - Hour ePostal National Championship earlier in the year, racking up 5,130 yards in an hour. This earned him his first USMS All American designation for the year.

    Steve is a leading member of the Indy Aquatic Masters (IAM) and he contributes to our team in many ways. He is a Level 3 Certified USMS Coach and an Adult Learn to Swim certified instructor. Despite Steve’s work and travel schedule he managed to teach 32 Adult Learn to Swim sessions this year and will be back in the pool after the first of the year teaching adults to swim. In addition Steve is our team representative to the Greater Indiana Masters Swimming (GRIN) board.

    Steve has been known to run a marathon from time to time. On Saturday Steve will run his 13th marathon, the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. Hopefully it will be a lucky run.

    ssthomasj9swimdavid_barrarondiMaryStellatimsrootCopelj26edwardbatchesbluemermaid9and 15 others.
  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member
    edited November 2017

    John "Batches" Batchelder is my pal, and I promised him I'd nominate him- but a few of you beat me to it, so I want to add my 2 cents (at least so Evan can include it in the final nominations!) He's definitely deserving. He actually pulled this list together of his swims for the year, in case you like them listed out, with miles:

    Butterfly Swims (distances in miles):
    Tampa 24
    Saguaro 9.5
    Canyon 9
    Roosevelt 6.2
    Mountain Swim Series- Boyd Lake 1.2
    Mountain Swim Series- Boyd Lake 3.1
    Mountain Swim Series- Solstice Swim 2.4
    Portland Bridges 11
    Mountain Swim Series- Carter Lake 3
    Mountain Swim Series- Chatfield Classic 1
    Mountain Swim Series- Chatfield Classic 2
    END-WET 36
    20 Bridges 28.5
    In Search of Memphre 25
    Three Rivers 18.6
    Charleston 12
    Total Fly Swims 192.5 miles

    Freestyle Swims
    Lido Key 7
    The Castle 6.2
    Swim the Suck 10 (last mile fly)

    Total Free Swims 23.2

    Total Miles All Strokes 215.7

    And because he included it-
    DNF Swims- butterfly
    Apache 14 miles done of 17
    Catalina - first attempt 4 of 20

    *He was pulled at Apache, like many swimmers because of high winds.
    *He got sick during his Catalina attempt, which was just about 2 days after his 20 Bridges Swim.
    *He got about halfway out to Catalina Island on the boat for a 2nd Catalina attempt, but the boat turned around due to poor weather.

    He also did quite a few swim meets in there as well, but we don't care about that silly pool swimming.

    It was an honor to train with John this summer, and I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot more of him in years to come. It's hard to believe that this was his first open water season, after a DNF at END-WET last summer (2016). He's definitely a deserving candidate for the Barra Award!!

    evmoKarl_KingeryLynnkubrondiMaryStellaLori_kCopelj26lakesprayMoCoForeverSwimand 8 others.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited November 2017

    I nominate Amy Appelhans Gubser for the Barra Award, on the basis of an incredible year of swimming, her courage to attempt (and usually finish) challenging swims, her generosity in crewing, advising, and supporting other swimmers, and her infectious positive spirit.

    In April, Amy was one of only four swimmers to complete all four SCAR swims (which means, effectively, one of only four to finish on a brutal day in Apache Lake).

    In June, Amy tackled the Santa Barbara Channel "the tough way" - i.e., in the mainland-to-island direction. Her 12.2 mile swim from Oxnard to Anacapa Island in 6 hours, 2 minutes was a new course record for this direction - eclipsing her friend Cindy Cleveland's record from 39 years ago. (Sanctioned and observed by the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association.)

    In July, Amy took on the "Border Buster" 25K in Lake Memphremagog, Vermont, which she finished in 8 hours, 26 minutes.

    Then, on September 23 Amy became only the fourth person to swim the notoriously difficult 25-mile width of Monterey Bay, California. This is one of the toughest swims in the world, with year-round chilly water, constantly changing conditions, and lots of potentially swim-ending wildlife. Amy completed the swim in 17 hours, 49 minutes in water that never exceeded 60F. (Sanctioned and observed by the Monterey Bay Swimming Association.)

    JustSwimbluemermaid9thelittlemerwookiessthomasKatieBundavid_barrabatchesJSwimSologregocand 13 others.
  • bluemermaid9bluemermaid9 Boca Raton, FL, United StatesMember

    I wholeheartedly second @evmo's nomination for Amy Gubser. She exemplifies the virtues of a stellar open water swimmer: commitment to her goals, courage to accomplish unusual, difficult swims, and love for the beautiful environments in which we are so fortunate to swim in. Cheers, Amy!

    thelittlemerwookiebatchescwerhane[Deleted User]
  • DBergquistDBergquist Excelsior, MNMember

    I would like to nominate Sandra Frimerman-Bergquist for the 2017 Barra Award for many reasons including her love for the sport, her compassion for all levels of swimmers, and her overall year of swimming. She has just completed an amazing year and season of Open Water Marathon Swimming “OWMS”. There is a fantastic group of OWMS swimmers that Sandra meets and swims with at the races she participates in. Each of them has great stories and each deserve cudo’s for their participation and accomplishments. Sandra’s story is so special. After losing 95 pounds from 2014-2015 with her amazing workout routine and lifestyle change, she transformed herself from being a very good swimmer to being a great one, as demonstrated by her performances during the past two seasons.

    As a Masters Swimmer she represents herself and her Masters teammates with a great attitude toward the races she enters. She is humbled by the field of well known swimmers that she races against.
    Many OWMS swimmers are happy and appreciative about their accomplishments of just finishing the races. This is great given the incredible athletic performances. Sandra decided she wanted more and has been working extremely hard to be the best OWMS that she can be and attack the sport in a way that she could finally be at the top of the podium when she participates in the OWMS events. She has been doing this for the past few years and her performances in 2016 were very good, but in 2017 she was even better and became almost unbeatable.

    Sandra begins her day early in the morning, like most swimmers do, by swimming in a pool with her Masters Team in Hopkins Minnesota. She then lifts weights at the gym and then runs at least 3 miles. Most days include a second time in the water as well. She swims on average over 10,000 yards per day. This is her schedule for 6-7 days a week.

    Sandra is heavily involved in Minnesota Open Water Swimming working tirelessly with her husband in putting on and assisting all of the open water events. She holds the Minnesota Open Water Safety position. One of her fondest moments this year was being asked by Phil White to go to Vermont to assist the swimmers in the 25-mile Search of Memphre. On a whim she and her husband(me) drove to Vermont in 2 days from Minnesota for the swim. She cherishes the night/day spent on Lake Memphremagog supporting and providing safety to the 7 swimmers, and even more crew, So much in fact that she is planning on joining "The Search" next summer as a "swimmer scout."

    Sandra’s performances this season were amazing. Over 130 miles of races being the 1st overall or 1st female in all of them. How much she wins by makes her even more worthy of this prestigious award. For example in the longest race in North America, the 36 mile END-WET in North Dakota she finished first overall for the second year in a row, with a time of just 10 hours and 33 minutes with the next non-wetsuit swimmer’s time more than 2 hours longer. Incredible! Many refer to Sandra as “Freaky Fast”.
    Sandra is deserving of this prestigious award.

    Sandra’s Open Water Swimming 2017 resume:

    *On 14 October 2017, she completed the 10-mile Swim the Suck race in the Tennessee River Gorge in Chattanooga, TN in 3:16.51 (1st overall)

    *On 1 October 2017, she completed the 12-mile Swim Around Charleston in South Carolina, in 4:31.47 (1st overall)

    *On 26 August 2017, she completed the 5-km Inaugural Duluth Park-Point 1-5k in Lake Superior in Duluth, MN in 1:02.24 (1st overall)

    *On 20 August 2017, she completed the 3.1-mile/5-km Inaugural Big Swell Swim in Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, WI in 1:13.32 (1st overall)

    *On 19 August 2017, she completed the 2.4-mile/3.9km Madison Open Water Swim in: 53:40 (1st overall)

    *On 12 August 2017, she completed the 10-mile/16km Minnetonka Challenge swim in Wayzata/Excelsior, MN in 3:47.57 (1st overall)

    *On 29 July 2017, she completed the Kingdom Swim 15.5-mile/25-km Border Buster cross-border swim in Lake Memphrémagog in VT,USA and Canada in a time of 5:49.55, (1st overall)a new course record

    *On July 15,2017, she completed the 3.1-mile/5km Lake Rebecca swim in the Delano, MN in 1:04.09 (2nd overall, 1st female)

    *On June 24,2017, she completed the 1-mile /.6km & 2-mile/3.2km Lake Harriet swim in the Minneapolis, MN in 46.19 (1st overall)

    *On June 17, 2017, she completed the 36-mile/57.9km END-WET swim in the Red River near Grand Forks, ND in 10 hours 33 minutes (1st overall)

    *On June 4, 2017, she completed the 9.2-mile/14.8km USMS Open Water National Championship in the Tennessee River Gorge in Chattanooga, TN in 2:07.45.(1st female, 2nd overall)

    * In April 2017, she participated in S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge in Arizona.

    **On April 26, 20178.3-mile/13.3-km Saguaro Lake - 3:04.53 (1st overall)

    **On April 27, 2017 8.7-mile/14.1-km Canyon Lake - 3:18.19 (1st female, 3rd overall)

    **On April 29, 2017 5.6-mile/9-km Roosevelt lake - 2:27.53 (1st overall)

    JustSwimJudy_BoudreauthelittlemerwookieKatieBunbatchescurlyemkhowleyevmoMpolmolly1205and 7 others.
  • I have watched Sandra evolve from a great swimmer to an amazing swimmer. She has dedicated her swims to a special cause - to raise awareness of mental illness and breaking the stigma associated with mental illness.

  • I would like to nominate Sandra Barquist for the David Barra 2017 award. I have watched Sandra be such an inspiration to all of us swimmers. She is not only a fabulous swimmer, she is focused, dedicated, and a very committed swimmer. Sandra has always been a very good swimmer, but I have witnessed her achieving her goals that are amazing. And not only her marathon swims are a personal success, she contributes her time and energy to the Minnesota Masters. Sandra is such a motivational swimmer to us all in Hopkins, Mn. I have done relays in the English Channel, but now Sandra has planted seeds for me to swim in incredible places......I admire her achievements!!!!! She is the best!!!

  • molly1205molly1205 Lincoln, NebraskaMember

    Another Sandra fan. I've had the pleasure of swimming with Sandra over the past several years and am incredibly proud of her accomplishments. She and David are always supportive of other swimmers and fantastic ambassadors to our sport. Way to go, Sandra!


    Molly Nance, Lincoln, Nebraska

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited November 2017

    We received a nomination for Lynton Mortensen of Brisbane, Australia, whose impressive year of marathon swimming included:

    • the Rottnest Channel in February
    • the Port to Pub 25K (also in the Rottnest Channel) in March
    • the English Channel on June 30...
    • followed a mere 17 days later by the North Channel (the shortest EC/NC turnaround)
    • 20 Bridges in August
    • and the Catalina Channel in September

    His nominator adds:

    On each of the swims he escorted the Roll of Honour (Afghanistan), laying 41 poppies at the start and end of each swim as a tribute to those individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice and to bring create dialogue and support in addressing veteran suicide and PTSD of returned soldiers. He did these swims with an exuberance that brought smiles to people around the world, while raising money for his charity, the Children’s Hospital Foundation, to help ill children in need and their families.

    For more information, see Lynton's webpage describing his swims and charity efforts, and his LongSwimsDB profile.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited November 2017

    Jaimie Monahan ( @Jaimie ) had another incredibly prolific and diverse year of swimming. These past couple years she's done so many swims in so many places that it may seem almost routine for her... but of course it's not. She has charted an extraordinary path through the world's waters, and her 2017 year set another very high bar.

    Solo Swims

    • On 14 October 2017 --- 10 mile (16 km) Verrazano Bridge to Marine Parkway in 3 hours 40 minutes
    • On 28-29 August 2017 --- 40 mile (64 km) Lago Maggiore solo crossing in 24 hours 2 minutes (first known non-wetsuit crossing)
    • On 19 August 2017 --- 17-mile (27 km) Rose Pitonof solo crossing in 5 hours 2 minutes
    • On 6th August 2017 --- 8.7 mile (14 km) Thames Marathon from Henley-on-Thames to Marlow in 3 hours 12 minutes (first non-wetsuit female, second non-wetsuit overall)
    • On 28-29 July 2017 --- won the inaugural 40 Bridges - Double Manhattan Island Swim of 57-miles (91.6 km) in 20 hours 12 minutes 6 seconds (8:35:43 first circumnavigation + 11:36:28 second circumnavigation) new course record
    • On 11 July 2017 --- 25 mile (40 km) Lac Memphrémagog solo crossing in 14 hours 18 minutes
    • On 2 June 2017 --- 13 mile (20 km) Mercer Island Circumnavigation in 8 hours 39 minutes.
    • On 6 April 2017 --- 2.5 mile (4 km) Strait of Magellan solo crossing in 1 hour 10 minutes

    Ice Swimming/Winter Swimming

    • First person to complete Ice Sevens Challenge through IISA (ice miles in Morocco, Norway, New Zealand, US, and Argentina in 2017)
    • US Winter Swimming National Champion, women’s 25 and 50 breaststroke
    • Age group silver medal at IISA 1k World Championships in Burghausen, Germany
    • Age group winner and second female overall for the 2017 IWSA World Cup, representing the US at events in Latvia, Russia, China, and England


    • President, Lake Geneva Swim Association
    • Organizing Committee Member, Memphremagog Winter Swimming Society
    • Observer, kayaker, volunteer and/or swim angel for various NYOW, CIBBOWS, UrbanSwim, and LGSA events
    gregocKarl_KingeryKatieBunthelittlemerwookieJSwimj9swimslknightssthomascurlylakesprayand 12 others.
  • JBirrrdJBirrrd MarylandSenior Member

    What a spectacular year for Courtney Paulk! I submit my nomination of her to be considered for the Barra Award for Best Overall Year in marathon swimming. This past year, Courtney became the first person to complete two triple crown swims as doubles. Even more impressive, she completed these challenging swims within ten weeks of each other.

    On July 28-29, Courtney looped twice around Manhattan in 40 Bridges, swimming 57 miles in 20 hours 15 minutes and 55 seconds. Because of an anticipated wait midpoint at the Battery, Courtney strategically swam the first lap at a comfortable pace, finishing in 8:50. The second lap was a bigger challenge, with 4 hours swimming against the current in the Harlem River. Courtney finished her Manhattan double with the fastest second lap ever recorded, 11:20:55. Only eight people have ever successfully completed this swim.

    Following that incredible swim, on October 10, 11 and 12 - Courtney completed a double Catalina Channel Crossing. She swam from the mainland of California to Catalina and back in 33 hours 13 minutes, earning her membership in the 24-Hour Club for marathon swimming. Courtney began her swim over to Catalina around 6:45 p.m. Despite an evening first lap, the sea never calmed. According to her crew, Courtney swam through 2-3 foot wind waves and chop through the night. After her first lap, the seas calmed a bit in Doctor’s Cove where she took only 4 minutes at the turn. Unfortunately, the favorable conditions did not last long and the wind waves and chop grew increasingly more rough through the morning and into the afternoon. Courtney had white cap conditions through day and into the evening. She battled a head current for the last 15 miles of her swim back to the mainland. Landing below Terranea in rough surge at roughly 4:00 a.m., Courtney climbed up on shore bruised and bloody, and incredibly emotional. She had attempted this swim the year prior but called it at the single due to conditions. Returning to realize her goal of a Double Catalina Crossing made her accomplishment all the more sweet.

    In addition her double doubles, Courtney also attended Cork Distance Week in July, logging over 90k over the 9 days in water temperatures that ranged from 50-58 degrees. While there, Courtney competed in the 8k Loch Allua swim - completing it in 2:12. She also did a secret 5k swim through strong winds and rough seas with a kayaker and another swimmer out to the Sovereign Islands and back - a swim only a handful of people have reportedly completed. Between Cork Distance Week and 40 Bridges - Courtney logged over 180 kilometers or nearly 115 swim training miles in July. In addition to these swims, Courtney completed her 15th Great Chesapeake Bay swim in June, did the three miles CIBBOWS Triple Dip Swim in September and the Spuyten Dyvil 10.5k swim the next day. At the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation banquet, Courtney stated that she swims because of what she learns about herself in the defining moments when her character is tested and her limits are challenged.”

    I’m so very proud of Courtney. She is a role model and supportive friend to many in the marathon swim community. She has had an incredible year, and I would love to see her recognized for her amazing efforts and accomplishments.

    j9swimssthomascurlyphodgeszohoedwardlakesprayevmoKatieBunMaryStellacourtneypaulkand 13 others.
  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member

    I would like to add my nomination for Courtney Paulk for the 2017 Barra Award for Best Overall Year. In addition to the comprehensive list of challenging swims listed above by JBirrd, I would like to add that Courtney is passionate about the importance of swimming safety and instruction being made more available to everyone and to that end, she uses her swims as a platform to raise money for Swim RVA in her hometown of Richmond, Virginia. The Mission of SwimRVA is “To elevate swimming in the Richmond region making water safety and aquatic fitness more accessible to all.”

  • Thank you jBirrd for your excellent nomination story for Courtney Moates-Paulk. I second/third her nomination. I was on the crew for the Catalina double and it was an incredible swim and an amasing display of determination and perseverance. I am very familiar with all the swims she did in 2017.

This discussion has been closed.