Avishag Turek, An Inspirational Pioneer From Israel

Courtesy of Rondi Davies, New York.

New York Open Water welcomed 16 swimmers from around the world to New York City for its first 2019 edition of the 20 Bridges Swim around Manhattan Island on June 1st.

Avishag Turek became the first Israeli to complete the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming with her second place (overall) in the first 2019 edition of the 20 Bridges Swim around Manhattan Island on June 1st.

The 43-year-old was also the first Israeli woman to complete a crossing of the English Channel from England to France in 2017. Coached by Ori Sela, she completed her swim in 13 hours 35 minutes.  She was the first Israeli swimmer – male or female – to complete a crossing of the Catalina Channel in 2018 in 11 hours 59 minutes.  She was the first Israeli woman to complete the 20 Bridges swim around Manhattan Island in 7 hours 39 minutes in the 16°C water.

For good measure, she has also completed her 10th lengthwise crossing of the Sea of Galilee, 20.5 km in 5 hours 50 minutes in March 2019. This is the most length crossings for a single swimmer in the Kinneret to date, and was the fastest swim for Turek to date.

She explained her early swimming career, “[I was] a girl from a kibbutz in Israel who was sent to learn how to swim and I fell in love. But I had no role model, no mentor to encourage me. At 17, I quit. 20 years pass.”

But circumstances changed dramatically in May 2013, “I swam my first open water swim. I [now] strive to become the role model and cheerleader [who] I once lacked. And to raise up that little girl who gave up on swimming because no one encouraged her or supported her dreams.”

Official 20 Bridges Swim Results:

  1. Zach Margolis (30, San Francisco, USA) 7:33:03 [Triple Crown achieved]
  2. James Janik (42, Colorado, USA) 7:35:43 [Triple Crown achieved]
  3. Avishag Turek (43, Shefayim, Israel) 7:39:12 [Triple Crown achieved]
  4. Fiona Mildner (39, East Sussex, Great Britain) 7:41:26
  5. Elizabeth Almond (44, Georgia, USA) 7:43:53
  6. Melanie Holland (43, Norfolk, Great Britain) 7:45:37
  7. Anna-Carin Nordin (47, JÃttendal, Sweden) 7:50:37 [Triple Crown achieved]
  8. Mark Sheridan (44, Kent, Great Britain) 7:52:27 [Triple Crown achieved]
  9. Cynthia Werhane (49, Oregon, USA) 7:52:45
  10. Steve Stievenart (41, Hauts de France, France) 7:55:09
  11. Gerald Devin (53, Wicklow, Ireland) 8:11:22
  12. Melissa Blaustein (30, California, USA) 8:14:55
  13. Janice Burton (55, Maryland, USA) 8:15:11
  14. Samiir Wheaton (48, Rajasthan, India) 8:24:53
  15. Jessi Harewicz (35, Vancouver, Canada) 8:37:34 [Triple Crown achieved]
  16. Tim Garrett (55, New South Wales, Australia) 8:40:49

In addition to Turek’s success, Zach Margolis, James Janik, Anna-Carin Nordin, Mark Sheridan and Jessi Harewicz also achieved the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming with their 28.5-mile circumnavigation swim around Manhattan Island.

For more information about the 20 Bridges Swim around Manhattan Island, visit www.nyopenwater.org.

To follow Turek on Instagram, visit @avishagturek.

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