Fighting The Currents To Win The Atlantic City Around The Island Swim

On August 13th 1989, a group of eight swimmers who would eventually be inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as Honor Swimmers gathered on the shore of Absecon Island in Atlantic City to race 36.6 km around the famed New Jersey gambling outpost.

The Atlantic City Around The Island Swim race favorite was Paul Asmuth who dominated the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation circuit in the decade of the 1980’s. The former Mission Viejo Nadadore swimmer won the Atlantic City race in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, and again in 1990.

But David Alleva of Fairfax, Virginia was going to have his best race of his six-year professional marathon swimming career with Honor Swimmers like Claudio Plit, Diego Degano, James Kegley, Irene van der Laan, Jaime Lomelín, and Taranath Narayan Shenoy pushing him.

In the morning, the 25-year-old Alleva from Indiana University had a good suspicion that he was going to have a good race, “I thought that I had a good chance to win this, but thinking about winning and then going out and doing it are totally different. This is the first time I’ve ever won a [professional marathon swimming] race.”

This race is 70-80% mental and I thought I did a good job of handling that today. That [oncoming] riptide [located nearly at the end of the race, shown below at the 49:30 mark] was a big obstacle for me, though, because I did not expect it. When that happened, I just tried to forget about the pain.”

Dr. Alleva, who is now a researcher and biopharma scientist, touched first in front of the Trump Castle Hotel & Casino, winning $7,450 [worth $18,446 today] with Michelle Boisvert as his feeder in a rowboat that was powered by Joe Haney and Mike Ruley.

Irene van der Laan was the only woman in the race who finished 9th overall. “In other swims I was always between 10th and 15th so it’s a big surprise to be in the top 10. It helped to know that I would be getting those bonuses [winning $2,500] anyway, but when you’re getting tired, you aren’t thinking about money.
All you can think about is getting out of the water as soon as possible

Hundreds of spectator boats followed Alleva into the finish where nearly 1,000 fans were cheering. The sponsor, a man who would eventually become America’s President, Donald Trump, walked off his Trump Princess yacht and greeted Alleva at the finish.

1989 Atlantic City Around The Island Swim Results

  1. David Alleva (USA, 25) 8 hours 5 minutes 27 seconds
  2. Paul Asmuth (USA, 32) 8 hours 13 minutes 57 seconds
  3. Robert Schmidt (USA) 8 hours 15 minutes 10 seconds
  4. Claudio Plit (Argentina, 34) 8 hours 32 minutes 55 seconds
  5. Diego Degano (Argentina, 22) 8 hours 34 minutes 52 seconds
  6. James Kegley (USA, 31) 8 hours 37 minutes 41 seconds
  7. Fernando Fleitas (Argentina) 8 hours 42 minutes 3 seconds
  8. Mohamed El Messery (Egypt, 31) 9 hours 22 minutes 58 seconds
  9. Irene van der Laan (Netherlands, 28) 9 hours 25 minutes 21 seconds – first woman
  10. Raymond Schailey (USA, 35) 9 hours 33 minutes 37 seconds)
  11. Jaime Lomelín Gavaldón (Mexico, 26) 9 hours 34 minutes 39 seconds
  12. Marek Abramowicz (Poland) 9 hours 40 minutes 9 seconds
  13. Peter Elmore (USA) 9 hours 43 minutes 37 seconds)
  14. Ayman Saad (Egypt, 25) 9 hours 59 minutes 49 seconds
  15. Michael Hanus (USA) 10 hours 1 minute 20 seconds
  16. Jože Tanko (Yugoslavia) 10 hours 17 minutes 21 seconds
  17. Alejandro Larriera (Argentina) 10 hours 31 minutes 8 seconds
  18. Taranath Narayan Shenoy (India, 30) 10 hours 54 minutes 32 seconds
  19. DNF Diego Fleitas (Argentina)
  20. DNF Sultan Kigab (Sudan)
  21. DNF Vojislav Mijić (Yugoslavia)

Photos and quotes courtesy of The Press of Atlantic City.

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© 2023 Daily News of Open Water Swimming

to educate, enthuse, and entertain all those who venture beyond the shoreline

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