June 12, 2017
Race directors David Barra and Rondi Davies, in collaboration New York Open Water, will present an unprecedented swimming event June 15th through June 22: the seventh annual seven-day, seven-stage 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim.
From the peaceful Catskills to the dramatic Narrows, 52 swimmers will cover more than half of the Hudson River’s great stream, from the Rip Van Winkle Bridge in Hudson down to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge — the entrance to the New York Harbor. 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, Mid-Hudson Bridge; Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, Bear Mountain Bridge, Tappan Zee Bridge, George Washington Bridge, and finally, the spectacular Verrazano Narrows Bridge, covering 120 miles of rolling river.
Each day, up to 19 intrepid swimmers from all over the world will jump into the Hudson. 52 swimmers will swim in total, with 10 swimming all 120 miles.
Abigail Fairman New York, NY
Harry Finger Ilhabela, Brazil
Steve Gruenwald Faribault, MN
Marta Izo São Paulo, Brazil
Graco Morlan Mexico
Edward Riley New York, NY
Flavio Toi Campinas, Brazil
Jamie Tout Austin, TX
Katrin Walter Buttikon, Switzerland
Stephen Rouch Indianapolis, IN
This year’s event boasts swimmers from 13 states, three from Brazil, four from Mexico, and one from Switzerland. The swimmer’s range in age from 21 (Joshua Gordan of Phoenixville, PA) to 65 (Mo Siegel of Piermont, NY).
Only six swimmers have completed all seven stages in one week: Grace Van Der Byl, Rondi Davies, Andrew Malinak, Lori King, Paige Christie, and Cheryl Reinke.
Swimmers will follow English Channel regulations, wearing no more than simple swimsuits, goggles, and swim caps.
Alex Arévalo and a fleet of experienced kayakers will provide safety and support to each swimmer. Escort Pilot Greg Porteus and his vessel Launch 5 (http://www.launch5.com), will serve as safety support, also provide a place for both the start and the finish of each stage.
The 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim is an epic journey. Race Director Barra dubs it a “weeklong 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 NYOW, Riverkeeper, and Launch 5, all organizations concerned with making the entire length of the Hudson a clean, sustainable and safe environment for all. Riverkeeper provides up to date water quality data for swimmers and non swimmers alike at https://www.riverkeeper.org/water-quality/. Without their continued effort to preserve the Hudson River, swims like this would be impossible to do in a safe manner.
Full details and schedules for each stage of the swim will be released as they become available at www.8bridges.org. Public viewing will be possible along many places on the Hudson.