Women Swimming Circles Around Manhattan Island


It is a rare sport in which women have outperformed men, consistently and over time.

Marathon swimming is that rarity in athletics where women have long outpaced and out-strategized men in head-to-head competitions. The annual Manhattan Island Marathon Swim is one such competition.

Since 1985, women have won 16 overall titles in the competitive circumnavigation of Manhattan Island compared with 12 overall victories by their male counterparts.

The fast-paced women have ranged from 15 years to 44 years. They have won in all kinds of conditions: choppy and slow as well as smooth and fast.

Judging by the results of the last three years, it looks like another victory for the women in tomorrow’s annual Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. Overwhelming favorite Catalina Channel record holder Grace van der Byl may be pushed by Paul Newsome and James Neitz, but the Solana Beach (California) swimmer has been on a hot streak recently and looks primed for a top podium finish.

The history of female victories include the following:

1985: 23-year-old Shelley Taylor-Smith over 23-year-old Courtney Roberts
1987: 26-year-old Shelley Taylor-Smith and 26-year-old Irene Van der Laan over 24-year-old Gary Antonick
1988: 27-year-old Shelley Taylor-Smith, 23-year-old Anita Sood, 32-year-old Karen Farnsworth-Einsidler over James Barber
1989: 28-year-old Shelley Taylor-Smith over 29-year-old James Barber
1990: 15-year-old Susie Maroney over 24-year-old Matthew Nance
1994: 19-year-old Susie Maroney over 30-year-old Igor De Souza
1995: 39-year-old Gail Rice, 31-year-old Marcia Cleveland, 25-year-old Nora Toledano Cadena, and 29-year-old Julie Burnett over 31-year-old Aaron Drake
1997: 28-year-old Tammy van Wisse over 34-year-old David Quartermain
1998: 36-year-old Shelley Taylor-Smith over 33-year-old Jay Benner
1999: 25-year-old Tobie Smith and 30-year-old Tammy van Wisse over 42-year-old Bob Copeland
2002: 34-year-old Emily Watts over 40-year-old Ron Collins
2006: 22-year-old Rendy Opdycke over 48-year-old Dan Robinson
2007: 44-year-old Penny Palfrey and 23-year-old Rendy Opdycke and 33-year-old Jose Serra
2010: 25-year-old Chloe McCardel over 35-year-old Jaime Caballero
2011: 28-year-old Erica Rose over 38-year-old John Van Wisse
2012: 22-year-old Abigail Nunn over 38-year-old Javier Gutierrez

Tomorrow’s competitors in the 28.5-mile circumnavigation include the following athletes:

On the women side, there is Giuliana Braga (Brazil), Charlotte Brynn (Vermont), Carol Cashell (Ireland), Devon Clifford (New York), Lisa Cummins (Ireland), Lisa Delaurentis (Australia), Suzie Dods (California), Katy Dooley (Texas), Victoria Gorman (Australia), Nicole Hirshman (New York and Arizona), Phyllis Ho (New York), Marilee Kiernan (New York), Ellery McGowan (UK), Ceinwen Roberts (Australia), Caitlin Rosen (New York), Charlotte Samuels (New Jersey), Gretchen Sanders (Texas), Victoria Thorpe (UK), Karen Throsby (UK), Grace van der Byl (California), and Deirdre Ward (United Kingdom).

On the men’s side, Timothy Donovan (Australia), Paul Downie (Australia), Steven Green (California), Gustavo Helguera (Argentina), Charles Herrick (Connecticut), Lochie Hinds (Australia), John Hughes (New York), Andrew Hunt (Australia), William Leonard (Canada), Frank Levy (New York), Kenn Lichtenwalter (New York), Liam Maher (Ireland), Wayne Morris (Australia), James Neitz (California), Jesus Neri (Mexico), Paul Newsome (Australia), James Penrose (UK), Kristian Rutford (Nebraska), and Geoff Wilson (Australia).

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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