8 Bridges, presented by NYOW is created by a group of open water swimmers who strongly support the enjoyment, clean up, and protection of the Hudson River — by swimming in it. We organize open water swimming events, tours, test swims, and record attempts in the Hudson River and New York Harbor. Contact us to learn more.
David Barra lives with his wife Clare in High Falls, NY. He grew up in Brooklyn, and worked his teenage summers as a lifeguard at Coney Island.
Barra has been competing in open water swimming events since 1998 and has focused on long distance for the past several years. He has completed multiple marathon swimming events all over the world including the Maui Channel (11 miles), the Tampa Bay Marathon Swim (22 miles), the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (MIMS) (28 miles), the Catalina Channel (21 miles), the Boston Light Swim (8 miles), the English Channel (21 miles), the Ederle Swim, NY (17 miles), La Traversee du Lac St Jean, Quebec (21 miles), Vidosternsimmet, Sweden (21Km), Plymouth to Provincetown, MA (22 miles), in Search of Memphre, Vermont (25 miles), traverses of the Finger Lakes, New York including a 35 mile traverse of Lake Cayuga.
In 2011, with co-director Rondi Davies, Barra introduced the first annual 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim, a 120-mile/ 7-stage swim event (the longest in the world!). He is also a coach/guide for Total Immersion’s open water swim camps in the Bahamas, Hawaii, and St John since 2006, and has recently joined Swim Vacation as a guide. In 2013, Barra founded Swimmer Safety Services to provide guiding with a highly visible motorized escort for solo swimmers and to provide logistical support for swim events. Barra is the owner of a stone cutting and installation business in the Hudson Valley, NY.
Davies grew up in Papua New Guinea and Australia, where swimming is a way of life, and competed in Australian national championships as a teen. Finding success in local events in New York City including third in the 2008 Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, she has notched wins in marathon swims in Long Island Sound and Lake Memphremagog, Vermont. Rondi holds the women’s record for the fastest Manhattan Island circumnavigation of 5:44.
From 2011 to the present, Rondi co-organized and directed the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim, and 2 Bridges, a 2.5/5K swim between the Mid-Hudson and Walkway over the Hudson bridges in Poughkeepsie, NY. Davies is an Earth Scientists and science educator in New York City and uses her knowledge in these fields to plan and navigate swimming events in the complex tidal currents of the Hudson River and New York Harbor, as well as advocate for the health of these bodies of water. When not swimming, Davies is a fleet-footed runner with a 2:57 marathon among her accomplishments.