Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Expect the unexpected is very much understood by experienced open water swimmers and their support crews.

But sometimes even the unexpected goes beyond what a swimmer expects.

Devon Clifford left Southern California on Tuesday morning, scheduled to arrive in New York City by the evening in order to participate in the world’s longest open water swim, 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim.

It is now 11 am on Thursday morning and I am STILL not back to New York.

Three canceled flights, more hours of delays than I’d like to calculate, an unplanned night over in Chicago, an unplanned night over in Washington, D.C. Now I am currently en route on Amtrak because American Airlines let me down so badly. I am so tired and my shoulders are sore from lugging baggage. [But I] can’t wait to swim 20 miles tomorrow. [I will miss] Stage 1 of 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim today, but I am sending all Stage 1’ers the very last bit of good juju I have left.”

17 swimmers including Abigail Fairman, Ed Riley, Janine Serell, Elizabeth Tabor, Susan Kirk, Spencer Schneider, and Alex Arévalo started the 18.1-mile Stage 1 in this morning’s 70.1°F water.

52 swimmers will swim in total with 10 attempting to swim all 120 miles of the world’s longest competitive swim: Abigail Fairman, Harry Finger, Steve Gruenwald, Marta Izo, Graco Morlan, Edward Riley, Flavio Toi, Jamie Tout, Katrin Walter and Stephen Rouch.

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