Race Report: Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (Part 2)

When we left off in Part 1, I was enjoying the view from South Cove and trying to find a measure of peace before setting off on the 28.5-mile adventure-slash-race. I always try to make room for a few moments of solitude in my pre-race routine – a parcel of grass, an empty park bench – to rid myself of tension and to reflect on how fortunate I am to be there.

This turned out to be especially important on the morning of MIMS, because it was a scene. Reporters, cameramen, families, friends, random onlookers – not to mention the field itself, full of well-known marathon swimmers from around the world. MIMS 2011 was particularly circus-like due to the Global Open Water Swimming Conference taking place in NYC the same weekend. Shelley Taylor-Smith, Penny Lee Dean, Anne Cleveland, Sid Cassidy, and Steven Munatones were among the open-water celebrities milling about South Cove that morning.

Here’s a video of Shelley interviewing race favorites (and eventual top 2 finishers) Erica Rose and John Van Wisse, as well as Van Wisse’s kayaker Richard Clifford:

The start of Wave 3 (the top 10 seeded swimmers) can be seen at 11:27. I’m the third swimmer from the right at the start – you can see me most clearly at the right edge of the screen at 11:30-31 when the camera zooms in. A few seconds later, you can see Erica already taking off into a lead she would never relinquish.

Also of interest is this video of Shelley and Penny Dean (perhaps the two best marathon swimmers of their generation – of either gender) catching up on old times before the race start.

And now, presenting the solo swimmers in the 2011 Manhattan Island Marathon Swim:

Photo credit: Tom McGann

At 9:30am, the first wave (Morty christened them the “sightseers” – ha, ha) went on their way. 10 minutes later, the second wave (the “semi-sightseers”) was off. A few minutes before 9:50, the ten “speed demons” lined up on the dock in reverse order of seed. A reporter from the NY Daily News asked me a few questions, jotting down my laconic responses on her notepad.

“Do you think you have a chance to win today?”

“Well, anything can happen out there.”

Not sure what ever happened with that interview (ha).

Here’s me avoiding eye contact; the two Miguels getting their game faces on; and Ollie Wilkinson standing up on the bench:

Photo credit: Tom McGann

A few moments later:

L-R: Van Wisse, Wilkinson, Arrobas, me. Photo credit: Anne Cleveland

Once everyone was lined up in order, we jumped. I positioned myself to the right of Ollie and John (not my brightest move, as I’m mostly a right-breather). Ollie asked me when I was doing my big Great Lakes swim. After a brief countdown, we were off.

To be continued…

5 thoughts on “Race Report: Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (Part 2)”

  1. The interviews by Shelley Taylor-Smith are great! Especially the one with Penny Lee Dean…Thanks for sharing these. I’m planning to use the “mental training” Penny describes for my golf game…”Rich loves to PUTT…Rich relaxes when walking on to a green… & BALL rolls into the hole!!!!!” In any case, these videos are terrific and Shelley is a great ambassador for Open Water Swimming. I’m looking forward to the next MIMS Report segment.

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