How Great To Swim All Eight; How Fun To Do Just One

How Great To Swim All Eight; How Fun To Do Just One

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Race directors David Barra and Rondi Davies, in collaboration New York Open Water, will present the longest swimming race in the world between June 26th through July 3: the 6th annual 7-day, 7-stage 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim.

As Barra is fond of saying, “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.”

From the peaceful Catskills to the dramatic Narrows in New York, 38 veteran open water swimmers will cover more than half of Hudson River as they swim from the Rip Van Winkle Bridge down to the the entrance to the New York Harbor at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. For one week, each day’s marathon swim will begin just north of one bridge and end on the south side of the next, covering distances ranging from 13.2 miles to 19.8 miles.

The swim will string together the Rip Van Winkle Bridge; Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge; the Mid-Hudson Bridge; Newburgh-Beacon Bridge; Bear Mountain Bridge; the Tappan Zee Bridge; the George Washington Bridge; and finally, the spectacular Verrazano Narrows Bridge, covering 120 miles (193 km).

Each day, up to fourteen marathon swimmers will swim each of the seven stages. Seven swimmers will attempt the full 7-day event, five of which are over 50.

7 Swimming All 7 Stages:
1 Paige Christie of North Andover, Massachusetts
2 Devon Clifford of New Rochelle, New York
3 Steve Gruenwald of Faribault, Minnesota
4 Thomas W. Kofler of Meran, Italy
5 Cheryl Reinke of York, South Carolina
6 Jamie Tout of Austin, Texas
7 Cristian Vergara of Brooklyn New York

5 Swimming 3 Stages:
1 Abigail Fairman of New York, New York
2 Ali Hall of San Francisco, California
3 Martina Pavlicova of New York, New York
4 John Royer of Washington, D.C.
5 Spencer Schneider of New York, New York [shown above]

10 Swimming 2 Stages:
1 Larisa Agudelo of Mexico
2 David Cook of New York, New York
3 Todd Erickson of San Antonio, Texas
4 Erica Flickinger of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
5 Bruce Gianniny of Rochester, New York
6 Kim Hedges of San Rafael, California
7 Leonard Jansen of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
8 Javier Olivares of Mexico
9 Janine Serell of Mt Pleasant, New York
10 Mo Siegel of Piermont, New York

35 Swimming 1 Stage:
1 Silverio Bracaglia of Brooklyn, New York
2 Jacqueline Broner of New York, New York
3 Nicholas Burnham of New York, New York
4 Dongho Choi of Princeton, New Jersey
5 David Barra of High Falls, New York
6 Hugh Darlington of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
7 Capri Djatiasmoro of Brooklyn, New York
8 Andrew Feldman of Harrison, New York
9 Lyn Goldsmith of New York, New York
10 Phyllis Ho of New York, New York
11 John Hughes of Port Chester, New York
12 Louise Hyder-Darlington of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
13 Susan Kirk of California, New Jersey
14 Glenn LaPolt of New Paltz, New York
15 Frank Levy of Scarsdale, New York
16 Neil Leyland of St Louis, Missouri
17 Kenn Lichtenwalter of New York, New York
18 Willie Miller of Ithaca, New York
19 Jaimie Monahan of New York, New York
20 Teresa Moogan of Brooklyn, New York
21 Charlie Nadel of Westport, Connecticut
22 Tracy O’Neil of Brooklyn, New York
23 Elena Pavlova of Brooklyn, New York
24 Laura Picardo of New York, New York
25 Kimberly Plewa of Rahway, New Jersey
26 Ed Riley of New York, New York
27 Charlotte Samuels of Ridgewood, New Jersey
28 Mark Spratt of Indianapolis, Indiana
29 Martin Turecky of Pleasant Gap, Pennsylvania
30 Charles van der Horst of Chapel Hill, North Carolina
31 David Wallman of Tenafly, New Jersey
32 Michele Walters of Washington. D.C.
33 Mark Watson of Brooklyn, New York
34 Ellen Weinberg of Brooklyn, New York
35 Jeannie Zappe of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
36 Janet Harris of New York, New York
37 Sydne Dider of Amherst, Massachusetts

Although the bulk of the swimmers are relatively close to the average age of 49, the age ranges from 17-year-old Charlie Nadel to a trio of 64-year-olds Mo Siegel, Capri Djatiasmoro and Charles van der Horst.

Throughout the history of the event, only 4 swimmers have completed all 7 stages in one week: Grace van der Byl, Rondi Davies, Andrew Malinak and Lori King.

Escort pilot Greg Porteus and a fleet of kayakers will provide crucial swim support. Porteus’ boat, Launch 5, will serve as safety support, also providing a place for both the start and the finish of each stage.

Barra explains, “The 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim will be an epic journey. It is a week-long open water swimming odyssey to celebrate the mighty Hudson and the New York Harbor.” Davies considers it, “a focused swimming vacation – much like hiking the Appalachian trail – to enjoy great scenery and company and to highlight the health and environmental issues of the river.

The swim will also raise awareness for the work of New York Open Water, Riverkeeper, and Launch 5, all organizations concerned with making the entire length of the Hudson a clean, sustainable and safe environment for all. Public viewing will be possible along many places on the River.”

For more information, visit

Additional articles on the 2016 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim:
*History: Christie vs. Reinke Recalls Van Der Byl vs. Davies Battle
*Stage 1: Cheryl Reinke Wins 8 Bridges Stage 1 Marathon
*Competitor: Elena Pavlova Swimming From Ukraine To New York
*Stage 2: Paige Christie Overcomes Conditions At 8 Bridges
*Stage 3: Cheryl Reinke Extends Slight Lead Under 8 Bridges
*Stage 4: Four For Cheryl Reinke At 8 Bridges
*Ageless Swimmers: Touting Jamie Under 8 Bridges
*Stage 5: Top Duo Duel Each Other And Weather
*Nerves: Goose Bumps While Swimming The 8 Bridges
*Stage 6: Swimming In Stages Down The Hudson River
*Stage 7: Cheryl Reinke, Paige Christie Go 7 For 7 At 8 Bridges
*Perseverance: Stage 6 Takes 6 For Capri Djatiasmoro

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones