Computing The Fastest Times Around New York City

Computing The Fastest Times Around New York City

The field for the Manhattan Island Marathon Record Attempt for September 10th is set with Petar Stoychev (age 33), Mark Warkentin (30), Rondi Davies (40) and Tobey-Anne Saracino (35).

No longer the sole confines of young people, the waterways around Manhattan Island seem to be the perfect venue for people in their thirties.

The fastest four swims of all time in Manhattan have been dominated by swimmers in their 30’s:

1. Shelley Taylor-Smith, 34 from Harbord, Australia, 5:45:25
2. Kristian Rutford, 32 from Lincoln, Nebraska, 5:53:57
3. Marcia Cleveland, 32 from Winnetka, Illinois, 5:57:53
4. Rebecca Fenson, 31 from Norfolk, Virginia, 6:07:46

But the success of the swimmers is also closely related to the experience of their support crew. Captain Tim Johnson, an inductee in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and author of The History of Open-Water Marathon Swimming, helped the fastest swimmers plot their course and the timing of their swims via innovative analyses using elaborate models on Lotus 1-2-3.

As an engineer, Tim is utilized his knowledge of the tides with a creative mathematical approach based on his combined experiences as a swimmer and licensed boat captain. He helped put the swimmers in the right positions around the tricky currents around Manhattan, no small feat in itself. Tim was so ahead of his time that when he help fellow Hall of Famer Skip Storch around the Manhattan Island three consecutive times (see video below), he took his computer with him and made adjustments along the way.

The race to the record will undoubtedly require adjustments along the way. Stay tuned for the September 10th attempt.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones
Steven Munatones