SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.—An international review panel ratified five marathon swims submitted to the Marathon Swimmers Federation (MSF) as part of the inaugural year of its Documented Swims program. The panel also endorsed Chloё McCardel as the World Record holder for Longest Unassisted Ocean Swim.
All ratified swims were independently observed, exhaustively documented, and conducted according to the highest standards of transparency and integrity.
This year’s review panel consisted of fifteen esteemed marathon swimmers from seven countries:
- David Barra (United States) – Co-founder of the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim and Triple Crown marathon swimmer.
- Donal Buckley (Ireland) – Author of award-winning blog LoneSwimmer, MSF co-founder, English Channel and Manhattan Island soloist.
- Anne Cleveland (United States) – Honour Swimmer, International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.
- Sylvain Estadieu (France) – first male to swim the English Channel butterfly.
- Elaine Howley (United States) – Co-founder of Massachusetts Open Water Swimming Association and Triple Crown marathon swimmer.
- Andrew Hunt (Australia) – Triple Crown marathon swimmer and 11x Rottnest Channel soloist.
- Andrew Malinak (United States) – MSF Rules co-author and one of only three ever to finish all seven stages of the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim in the same year.
- Anthony McCarley (United States) – Triple Crown marathon swimmer.
- Zoe Sadler (United Kingdom) – English Channel soloist and Lake Windemere two-way soloist.
- Fergal Somerville (Ireland) – North Channel and English Channel soloist. Organiser of Eastern Bay Invitational International Ice Mile Swim.
- Sarah Thomas (United States) – Triple Crown marathon swimmer. First to complete two-way length of Lake Tahoe; first two complete two-way length of Lake Memphremagog.
- Nora Toledano (Mexico) – Honour Swimmer, International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. 6x English Channel soloist. Former FINA Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit competitor
- Grace van der Byl (United States) – Current record-holder for fastest swim from Catalina Island to the California mainland.
- Milko van Gool (Netherlands) – English Channel, North Channel, Rottnest Channel, and IJsselmeer soloist.
- Scott Zornig (United States) – President, Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association. Catalina Channel and Manhattan Island soloist.
The panel, chaired by MSF co-founder Evan Morrison, reviewed documentation for nine swims submitted to MSF in 2014. Any panelists who were personally involved in a swim abstained from discussing that swim. After a window for questions and clarifications from the panelists to the swimmers and observers, the panel formally ratified five swims on behalf of MSF:
- Anthony McCarley: Unprecedented three-way crossing of Pillsbury Sound between St Thomas and St John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Elaine Howley: Unprecedented 32-mile lengthwise crossing of Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho, USA.
- Patti Bauernfeind: 25-mile crossing of Monterey Bay, California (the first since 1980).
- Kimberly Rutherford: 25-mile crossing of Monterey Bay, California (the second since 1980).
- Chloё McCardel: Unprecedented 124.4-kilometer (77.3-mile) swim from Eleuthera Island to Nassau, Bahamas.
The panel also endorsed the documentation of two additional swims:
- Craig Lenning: 25-mile swim from the Farallon Islands to Muir Beach, California (first Farallons solo since 1967).
- Joe Locke: 30-mile swim from the Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge (first Farallons solo to finish at the Bridge since 1967).
These swims are still pending ratification by the Farallon Islands Swimming Federation, and are not within the ratification purview of MSF.
Two other swims were not approved for ratification: one which lacked an observer log, thus not meeting MSF standards for documentation; and another which was discovered upon inspection to be shorter than 10 kilometers, the minimum distance to be considered a marathon swim and ratified by MSF.
Separately from the swim documentation review, the panel considered Chloё McCardel’s claim of a World Record for Longest Unassisted Ocean Swim. It was proposed that until evidence is produced of a longer documented, unassisted swim, that Ms. McCardel should be acknowledged as the World Record holder.
It was further proposed that any future claims on this record, for which distance is the relevant metric, should demonstrate that the total swim distance was not significantly inflated by surface currents, just as Ms. McCardel’s swim did not benefit from currents. This is similar to how track world records may not benefit from a large tailwind.
Of the twelve panel members who chose to participate, 11 voted to endorse Ms. McCardel as the world record holder. A 12th panelist participated in the discussion but ultimately abstained from voting. With a 92% majority, the Marathon Swimmers Federation hereby recognizes Chloё McCardel’s 124.4-kilometer Bahamas swim as the world record for Longest Unassisted Ocean Swim.
MSF congratulates the Class of 2014 Documented Swims — the swimmers who swam, the observers who documented, and the crews who did everything else.
2014 MSF Swim Review Panel Bios
About the Marathon Swimmers Federation
The Marathon Swimmers Federation, founded by Evan Morrison and Donal Buckley in 2012, serves the global community of “Channel Rules“-style marathon swimmers and aspiring marathon swimmers. MSF provides:
- a venue for community discussion and peer education via the Marathon Swimmers Forum;
- recognition of outstanding marathon swims and swimmers via the Global Marathon Swimming Awards;
- guidelines for undertaking and documenting solo marathon swims, via the Rules of Marathon Swimming.
About the MSF Documented Swims Program
MSF Documented Swims offers a process for authenticating swims in unregulated bodies of water. MSF aims to provide the same high standard of trust and integrity to independent swims, that English Channel, Catalina Channel, and Manhattan Island Marathon swimmers gain from being sanctioned by those swims’ respective governing bodies.