Manhattan Harder Than Harvard

Manhattan Harder Than Harvard

There are over 91,500 high school students who apply to entrance to U.C.L.A. (University of California, Los Angeles). Nearly 35,000 valedictorians, teenage geniuses, and the ultimate student-athletes apply to Harvard University’s 2,100 places as freshmen.

These teenagers struggle, study, and commit themselves to excellence so they can matriculate to the university of their choice. When the select few receive their letter of acceptance, the chosen are overjoyed, relieved, and proud of their accomplishment. And their parents are rightly proud.

But when they are rejected, they are crushed, crestfallen, and disheartened.

Whether individuals apply to universities, or for academic appointments or job opportunities, being accepted is the ultimate goal. Joining the school, the team, or the company offers a road to future success. It is a distinction that generates respect and an indication of talent, capabilities and commitment.

The open water swimming world has its U.C.L.A. and Harvard: the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. The desirability of the 28.5-mile race is off the charts. Its limited spaces are coveted like the slots with Michael Oram across the English Channel or an email from Philip Rush. The competition among marathon swimmers is intense that individuals plot and plan for years how to position their application in the best possible light. Acceptance leads to joy, relief, and pride. And rejection leads to a profound level of disappointment.

And the Harvard of the open water swimming world just got ratcheted up its difficulty last week. With 18 swimmers boat assisted in the 2013 Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, there are many individuals with unfinished business. They know that a completion is within their potential and they are probably going to re-apply.

Jim Neitz explains, “It is no fun to fail, no matter the circumstances. But I do not mind doing it again. The [Manhattan Island Marathon] Swim is fun and very doable for me. NYC Swim is a great organization with passionate volunteers. I am thankful to them for organizing a tough event with so many logistical and naturally moving parts. Things can’t always go right; yet historically, they do go right for the event. That is a testament to the organization.”

But Neitz knows the gating issue. “The hard part is getting accepted into the swim. I predict it will get even harder because now 25 people have unfinished business.”

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association