Manhattan Island Marathon Swim 2013



  • jgaljgal Member
    The results obviously don't do the swimmers justice, as there are some amazing swimmers on that list who don't have official times.

    I 100% agree. The swimmer I crewed for is a crazy-accomplished member of the community, and apart from the unfortunate current in the East River, she swam the entire thing fantastically.

    I think pretty much anything and everything that could go wrong did go wrong this year. On Friday we had a tropical storm in the area and a full 24 hours of rain. On Saturday we had boats not show, boats unable to get there from boat damage post-Sandy, and complete chaos trying to reassign swimmers to boats. It was complicated. Should they have just started and try to sort out the dilemma as the swimmers made their way along the river? Maybe. But then crews would need to reassemble, and feeds would need to be re-sorted. But yes, I'd love to see what Dave B has to say as he was loading boats on the dock during the start.
  • jgaljgal Member
    What was keeping the boaters from leaving earlier from NJ towards the start.

    I don't think any boaters were late. We were all hovering out off Pier 25 for a while. The issue was boats not showing. Our boat saw 2 stalled escort boats on his trip from Staten Island to the start. Who knows how they got back to their marinas.
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    edited June 2013
    jgal wrote:
    I'd love to see what Dave B has to say as he was loading boats on the dock during the start.
    Well the short answer is yes... there was a boat shortage. If every boat showed up at 5AM it would have been tight. Every swimmer knew this was the situation. Some took it in stride and agreed to double up... but many refused as did some boaters, and some of the boats are too small to accommodate 2 crews. Loading up was 3 hours of intense juggling with a rather low percentage of cooperation. You can't force everyone to be a team player.

    The situation certainly wasn't ideal, but the event did go off safely, and all the swimmers were looked after well once they got in the water. Not every swim is going to be a success... as OW swimmers we accept this....learn from it and move forward.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • Many boats that usually escort this swim were damaged during Sandy and so were not available. NYC Swim reached out for more boaters but it was hard to get enough. As the race approached, and more boaters put their boats back into the water for the first time since the storm, many discovered damage that they hadn't realized was there, and pulled out. In the days leading up to the race, as they were trying to get more boaters, they were still losing boaters. By race morning, they had enough signed up (a few swimmers agreed to share an escort boat and receive a $400 rebate to bring the number of boats needed down by a few). However, it seems some 10 boats may not have shown up at all on race morning. (There were 10 boater packets left on the docks after everyone had left). Of course, the boat loaders can't know many of these boats aren't showing up until all the other boats are loaded and gone from the dock. This meant that the people running boat loading had to improvise, put more swimmers together to share escort boats, call those boats back to receive the second (and in some cases third) crews and baggage... It's maybe a bit impressive that they got us all off and swimming as quickly as they did, considering the hurdles they faced at boat loading. Frustrating, but it seems a lot of this trouble can be traced back to Sandy. Which helps us understand why all the problems, even though, as Niek says:
    Niek wrote:
    It's not that this is a new race for them with teething problems.

  • Sorry for repeated information. I must have had an old feed up. Only after I posted this did I see the posts above mine, many addressing the same information. I suppose multiple perspectives can't hurt...
  • njoynjoy Member
    Well I figure I’ll throw in my two cents here, because I don’t think the comments here are reflecting the experience of many swimmers. I was an observer twice for this event, and I had high expectations going in as a swimmer. The following is based on info from my crew and paddlers and what I saw myself.

    Because of the boat shortage, I volunteered to share a boat, as long as it was with a swimmer of equal pace. I was matched up with two extremely nice people supposedly of similar pace, but it was clear very early on that I am well faster than they are. I know we were to stick to the speed of the slowest swimmer, but that was totally impossible, and I wasn’t going to backstroke my way around Manhattan to be further accommodating. I decided within the first hour to abandon ship and rely solely on my paddlers and accept that I wasn’t going to see my crew much. (I spoke to them three times throughout the day.) Fortunately I had been matched with two amazing, caring, and competent paddlers who really stepped up for this total stranger.

    One of the shared-boat swimmers dropped out early because of hypothermia but is not listed as a DNF in the current results for some reason.

    According to my paddlers, I was less than 300 yards from beating the tide change and was still moving forward and making progress when the call came to pull swimmers. Since people were telling me I had to get out, I climbed on the nearest boat. I know now that even with the late start, I would have made it all the way around if I hadn’t listened and kept swimming. I got out of the water because I’m obedient and didn’t really grasp at that moment what was going on. I’m gonna feel crappy about that for a while, because I should have a complete swim, not a boat assisted one. C'est la vie.

    I was dropped off about 0.5 miles later. I heard later that some people were dropped at the Triborough Bridge (officially the RFK Bridge), way ahead. I was now pretty much behind everyone. My remaining boat buddy, who was picked up by even a different boat, was dropped miles ahead. That swimmer caught the faster current in the Hudson and got even farther ahead, causing even more stress for the boat captain. (By the time I got to the Hudson, the current was not as fast. By the time I came to the finish, it was almost slack.)

    I do give props to the boat captain for managing this situation as best as possible. My crew said he was stressing and not very happy, but he didn’t complain.

    I saw my boat and crew at 90th Street in the Hudson and did not see them again until the finish, because they had to stick with the other swimmer. My unhappy crew knew from radio reports from my paddlers that I was alive and well. My paddlers scrounged to find an escort for me once they had to turn off into North Cove. An NYPD boat was around there and agreed to hang out unless someone else showed up. A small patrol boat did come up and stay with me to the finish. I know at least one swimmer did this last bit unescorted.

    My apologies if I sound like a big old baby, but this is how things went down for me. It’s awesome that everyone made it safely out of the water one way or another, but I’m not sure I’d agree that all swimmers were well taken care of.
  • firebahfirebah Charter Member
    Pilots did not show up on the day and some that did were very uncooperative when it came to solutions for the shortage. Had the pilots who agreed to be there showed up things would have gone better.
    I was an observer on a boat. The pilot was in his 19th MIMS so has lots of experience. He said due to the rains the East River had a shorter swim window than usual. I noticed once we passed the Brooklyn Bridge we were moving much slower than my experience as a swimmer in 2011. The pilot agreed and was searching for current as there was very little to be found. After we passed the Queensboro Bridge we were nearly at a standstill. When it came time to pull our two swimmers they began going backwards the moment they stopped swimming. Had the swim begun exactly on time based on my pilot's opinions many swimmers would not have made it out of the East River in this swim. It was a tough day made worse by pilots who let the swimmers down by not showing up to escort the swimmers.
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    njoy wrote:
    Well I figure I’ll throw in my two cents here, because I don’t think the comments here are reflecting the experience of many swimmers.

    Thank you for adding your experience to this thread Nicole. I hope I can add a few details that might diminish your frustration... even a tiny bit:

    First, I believe that the pool of experienced kayakers that MIMS attracts is exceptional. I have had the pleasure to work with many of them for NYC swims and we have relied on a good number of them for 8 Bridges. Though 8 Bridges is technically less demanding (lighter currents, less traffic), kayakers act as guide, observer (relaying info to the support boats), and carry the swimmers full supply of feeds for the day. I know a few dozen that I would, without hesitation, trust my life to. Though it is not the current model (which btw, has worked for 20 something years), I believe that MIMS can function safely with fewer power boats per swimmer on the course.

    The “pulling” of swimmers was done methodically and started at the back of the field and moved forward. The swimmer I was with (not the swimmer I started the day with) at this time was one of the last to be pulled. He was still moving forward as well. We were monotoring his speed, and the building ebb had slowed his progress to 0.3 mph... with a few hundred yards to go, that would have taken an hour... and the ebb was building, so the most likely (certain) scenario is that he wouldn’t have made it, and we would have had to pull kayakers as well if they were caught in a 2+ knot current. Even if the paddlers could make it through that, it could have been hours until they could reunite with a repositioned swimmer.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • njoynjoy Member
    David: Thanks for this. It's easy to toss "what ifs" around. I'm already over it. It is what it is. :)

    Yes, my paddlers were exceptional, and I felt safe in their hands. My regret with essentially losing my boat is that my husband and my food were on it. I think it would have been a better experience for me if both of them had been around a little bit more.
  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member
    Those swimmers who, like me, completed boat-assisted swims on Saturday might like to know that NYC Swims are in the process of preparing to post (unofficial) times and I understand that they are going to reach out to the swimmers in the near future with some additional information. I think that these are really positive steps and will be greatly appreciated.

    In the mean time, I'd be lying if I said that it wasn't frustrating to have come so near, but so far, from a successful MIMS swim, but I'm with @njoy - the 'what ifs' get us nowhere. And there are a heap of positives to take away too. Our swims may have been unofficial, but it was still one hell of a swim and my shoulders officially hurt quite a bit the next day. Of course these shouldn't count as official swims, but in every other way, it still 'counts'. And in this spirit, I post my happy-I-finished picture.

  • That is an admirable attidtude Karen and njoy. I think it must be twice as hard for the organizers at this time. I am sure they are more than aware of the sacrifices you brought to the water in order to swim. @Karen T, I thought of you and I am glad you were not attacked by one of those creepy lamprey creatures.

    Sisu: a Finnish term meaning strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.

  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    edited June 2013
    firebah wrote:
    He said due to the rains the East River had a shorter swim window than usual. I noticed once we passed the Brooklyn Bridge we were moving much slower than my experience as a swimmer in 2011. The pilot agreed and was searching for current as there was very little to be found.
    There is definitely something to this. Paul Newsome took 2 hours 10 minutes from the start at Pier A to the footbridge at Hell Gate. By comparison, in 2011 Erica Rose took 1 hour 42 minutes to the footbridge, despite starting at South Cove (further up the Hudson). So, the East River was slow. The Harlem and Hudson, however, were faster and Paul ended up finishing 15 minutes faster than Erica's time in 2011.

    According to NYC authorities some 1 billion gallons of water entered the rivers from the rains. It's quite possible this weakened the flood in the East River.
  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member
    evmo wrote:
    According to NYC authorities some 1 billion gallons of water entered the rivers from the rains. It's quite possible this weakened the flood in the East River.

    On that note: it should be noted that several swimmers took ill following the swim. Illness seems to be something that crosses the mind of some swimmers, but not all. Some this year immediately began antibiotics following the swim and made out alright. I heard one swimmer last year had a precautionary Hep-A vaccine (I didn't, and so far so good). Others either didn't consider it or didn't think it a high risk.

    Should health precautions be recommended by the organizers for future swims? I for one would take them more seriously if I knew of past experiences like this.

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

  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    I think the NYC swim site already recommends hep A and tetanus vaccines.
  • LisaLisa Guest
    malinaka wrote:
    I heard one swimmer last year had a precautionary Hep-A vaccine (I didn't, and so far so good). Others either didn't consider it or didn't think it a high risk.

    Andrew, get your Hep A&B vaccines! And your tetanus! I'm not your mom, but if I were, I'd kick your butt for not having done so already. Geez. Spend the $200. Even if it's a minuscule risk, it's still worth every penny.
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    I agree wholeheartedly with @malinaka and made a point on my post-MIMS blog last year about that. I got the Hep vaccine beforehand I think as @ChickenOSea says as it was recommended, but I got ill (gastrointestinal) after and was sick for about a week. Probably like most of you I don't often get ill and I ascribed it entirely & unscientifically to MIMS. I have no problem with that, I knew what I was doing, as do most of you. (Though also like most of you, I still have people asking me if I realise the water is dirty....)

    However, in the short (1 mile) Lee swim, Ireland's biggest participation swim, there's a standing request for entrants to notify the organisers should they subsequently develop any illness. This allows organisers and future entrants to better assess risks & trends. With the smaller numbers entering MIMS surely it would be a mundane task to do a quick follow-up each year? A Tweet just now from Paul Newsome & Carol Cashell (2nd woman) says they are both currently sick.

  • jcmalickjcmalick Wilmington, DEMember
    My heart goes out to all the participants currently battling the internal pains! Shortly after my swimmers got pulled, I was swamped at Hell's Gate and flipped my surf ski. I was sick (gastrointestinal) for a few days (Monday and Tuesday) but it could have also been the Lunchable Cheese Pizza Kit that Monday morning I thought was a good idea to eat although it sat in my bookbag for two days after the swim...picked it up at Target in Jersey City Friday Night...NOTE, don't listen to your hungry stomach when it plays Devil's advocate and says, "Go ahead and eat it, it'll be alright!!!" BULL! I got it as a gag for Richard Clifford when we were paired together with Devon and Charlotte to share a boat (little to our knowledge a third swimmer by way of Frank was added last minute giving our boat THREE, yes THREE, swimmers!) and we were talking Friday night about what feeds we wanted as escort kayakers...should have gone with a Papa John's BBQ Hawaiian or Bucket of KFC Boneless Chicken!
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    Before swimming in the 2011 MIMS I made sure my HepA and HepB titers were high and that my Tetanus was up to date. If rained buckets the day before, but I don't remember anyone memtioning that the water was "compromised". Even if they did, like everyone else, I would have swum anyways. Four days after MIMS I spent the whole day in the bathroom. It is to be expected and it is a small price to pay to take part in such a great swim.

    @jcmalick, that Lunchable story is nauseating!
  • njoynjoy Member
    You can add me to the sick list, but I feel OK as of yesterday. My shots are up to date. It didn't occur to me to take antibiotics afterward. I did medicate with some gin tonics later, but those, unfortunately, didn't help in this department.
  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member
    I agree, @loneswimmer. It would seem like a pretty simple task to get even a partial list of who got sick, who had antibiotics, shots, etc over the years. There's certainly no way I wouldn't jump in for MIMS just because of a little sewage overflow, but I would be much more likely to seek proper preventative treatments if I knew such health risks exists, which they clearly do. Plus, we all know how much swimmers like data.

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

  • rosemarymintrosemarymint Charleston, SCCharter Member
    New York City and urban New Jersey have a number of combined sewer overflows, which mean whenever it rains above a certain amount (I think it's about .20 of an inch up there,) raw sewage flows into the waterways. This is a well-known issue among environmental groups trying to get both states to fix the problem to ensure the water is almost always swimmable. The NYC area had about 4 inches of rain the night day before the race and numerous environmental folks on the Jersey side warned me that night and throughout the day that the water was not safe for swimming. I was very surprised to see that the race went off without any warning from either the organizer or the health department that the water was contaminated. The rivers flush out within a couple tide cycles, but given the amount of overflow, I know had I been faced with making the decision to swim, I don't know which I would choose. I hope everyone who suffered illness is well and has no lasting effects, but I'd hope the race organizer in the future will at least let people know of the concerns. e.coli sickness is no joke for some people.

    If anything, Surfrider and the NY/NJ Baykeeper likes to keep tabs on whether people got sick because the statistics help with their lobbying on trying to find funding to retrofit the sewers to close off the overflow points.
  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member
    edited June 2013
    I was lucky and didn't get sick at all post-MIMS, but then sat in front of two children with the snuffles on the plane home and caught their cold. This confirms what I have always suspected about the dangers of children.
  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    Come on @KarenT. You're a scientist. You know that getting exposed to germs is the way to beef up your immunity.

    Father of four

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member
    It's alright for you, @IronMike - with four children of your own, you've already been exposed to just about every known pathogen. Those of us living without children have no protection and can be floored by even the smallest child.
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Better value when they go back to school after summer
  • I was sick after MIMS pretty violently for a day... Could have been the tequila shots from the night before though.... Iam only just starting to feel ok now after a week! I know a few of the other west Aussies were sick a few days after also.
  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member
    @Ceinwen80 Your GPS tracker had you at 51st and 2nd for most of the swim. Were you in fact doing a marathon session of cake-eating at Buttercup Bakery? I think anyone whose ever been there would completely understand your decision. (Might this also explain the illness? No human should be able to eat their buttercreme frosting for 6+ hours and feel okay afterwards.)

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

  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    edited August 2013
    The MIMS "Quiet Swim" is on, and the swimmers are entering the Harlem River.

    Steven Green
    Nicole Hirschman
    Phyllis Ho
    Frank Levy
    James Neitz
    James Penrose
    Caitlin Rosen -
    Kristian Rutford
    Karen Throsby -
  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    Here's a wonderfully comprehensive and articulate blog post by Caitlin Rosen, reflecting on what happened in June:
  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member
    From looking at Twitter, you think it was just @Karent and @caitlinrosen swimming today.

    On that note, is there a Commentator of the Year award for Best Swim Coverage?

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

  • jgaljgal Member
    Yesterday was incredible.

    From pre-start to post-finish, it was a completely different day to the June MIMS. I remember sitting in the pre-race meeting the day before MIMS, soaked to the bone from the rain, thinking, this can't be good for those rivers. My anxiety and unsettled feelings have been with me since that day, and I was only a crew! ;)

    Yesterday, all boats arrived early, there was zero confusion, and we started 6 minutes early. My swimmer @Karent swam through the area where we got pulled last time, and I know she was ecstatic, which made me ecstatic. Apart from the pre-race jitters, it was a day full of glee.

    There was a great current pretty much the entire way around. The only hiccup was the bridge at Spuyten Duyvil... all boat traffic was stopped for ~45minutes as the MTA said they weren't opening the bridge til 4pm. But the swimmers carried on and yours truly got to have a nice dip in the Harlem. I swam against the crazy awesome current to get back to my boat, and that 10 minute swim has me sore today. (I'm out of shape, y'all.) We did have about an hour of heavy chop in the Hudson. It was heavy enough that passing off feeds was difficult, and in one case, impossible. But the majority of the swim was flat, calm, and fast.

    I am so happy that NYCswim decided to have this swim. 100% of the field made it, and 4 swimmers completed their triple crown. How cool is that? Thanks for making this happen.

  • njoynjoy Member
    Agreed! I swam yesterday. We could not have asked for a better day. My crew was much happier after yesterday than they were in June. :) I am very glad the quiet swim was offered and went off without a hitch. It was a great way to end my summer swim season.
  • firebahfirebah Charter Member
    Congratulations to all of the 'Quiet MIMS' swimmers!

    Read the comments by the 1983 winner.....Noting the difference in price and the difference in the boat set up.
Sign In or Register to comment.