While ultra marathon swimmer Penny Palfrey is coming up on her halfway point of her 166 km solo swim from Cuba to Florida, another group of ultra marathon swimmers have reached their halfway point on their 193 km (120-mile) stage swim down the Hudson River in New York.

Like Palfrey, the swimmers in New York are stretching the boundaries of what is possible. Conceived by David Barra and Rondi Davies, the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim is a 7-stage swim that begins at the Rip Van Winkle Bridge near Catskill, New York and ends at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York City.

It is the longest competitive swim in the world (see list here).

On the 15.2-mile Stage 4 from Newburgh Beacon Bridge to Bear Mountain Bridge, Californian Grace van der Byl is holding strong, finishing in 4 hours 10 minutes. Grace, who is embarking on all 7 stages, describes this Stage 4 in glowing terms. “If you come up for any one stage, this is it. It was epic beauty. Instead of racing the stage, I took my time to enjoy the sights. Stunning. There was an island with a castle, West Point, Monasteries, huge cliffs that seemed to shoot up out of nowhere, beautiful marsh lands, and even trains going past on both sides of the river.”

Results of Stage 4
1. Grace van der Byl – 4:10:46
2. Rondi Davies – 4:19:53
3. William Miller – 4:39:48
4. Elias Falcon – 4:49:16
5. John Reagan – 4:55:54
6. Mary Kavaney – 5:30:29
7. Martin Turecky – 5:45:07
8. Suzanne Sataline – 6:28:35

Stage 1: Rip Van Winkle Bridge – Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge (18.3 miles or 29.4 km)
Stage 2: Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge – Mid-Hudson Bridge (19.8 miles or 31.8 km)
Stage 3: Mid-Hudson Bridge – Newburgh Beacon Bridge (13.2 miles or 21.2 km)
Stage 4: Newburgh Beacon Bridge – Bear Mountain Bridge (15.2 miles or 24.4 km)
Stage 5: Bear Mountain Bridge – Tappan Zee Bridge (19.8 miles or 31.8 km)
Stage 6: Tappan Zee Bridge – George Washington Bridge (15.7 miles or 25.2 km)
Stage 7: George Washington Bridge – Verrazano Narrows Bridge (18.1 miles or 29.1 km)

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association