Rondi Davies Sets Record Around Manhattan Island

Courtesy of Abigail Fairman, New York Open Water, Manhattan Island, New York City.

During the off-season and midseason, Rondi Davies is always busy planning, organizing, mentoring, and preparing for numerous quiet swims and events on the New York Open Water season.

But she remains in top shape and a world-class marathon swimmer herself.

On September 1st, one of the last days of the New York City open water season, the New York Open Water co-founder set a new course record for the Reverse 20 Bridges Swim around Manhattan Island. Swimming the unconventional and more challenging clockwise direction, Davies completed the 45.9 km in 11 hours 0 minutes 17 seconds, lowering the previous course record of 11 hours 44 minutes 5 seconds set by Elizabeth Fry.

The 49-year-old is the third swimmer to complete this route after Kris Rutford in 1995 (17 hours 48 minutes) and Fry in 2009. Davies also holds the women’s record for the standard counter-clockwise swim around Manhattan Island in 5 hours 44 minutes 47 seconds set in 2011.

The ‘Reverse Manhattan’ as this swim is known, is a more challenging swim because of the difference in tidal flow. While swimmers enjoy fast tidal currents swimming up the Hudson River, they spend most of the distance of the Harlem River swimming against the current before arriving at the East River and enjoying a strong push to the finish.

Davies was supported on this swim by pilot Sean Makofsky, kayakers Alex Arévalo and Luis Lopez, crew chief Janet Harris and New York Open Water observer Dana Page.

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