Open Water Marathon Swimmer Abby Bergman Completes Triple Crown

by SwimSwam 1

July 16th, 2018 Open Water

Courtesy: AbbyBergman.com

Entering the choppy waters of the Hudson River at Pier A on Saturday morning, Abby Bergman was part of a group of 15 intrepid open-water swimmers aiming to circumnavigate the Island of Manhattan. Bergman was there to fulfill her dream of completing the Triple Crown of marathon open water swims.

The Triple Crown is comprised of the iconic English Channel swim (from Dover to the sandy shores of France’s coast – a distance minimum of 20 miles but usually much longer as currents make it almost impossible to swim in a straight line), the Catalina Channel swim (from Catalina Island to Palos Verdes, California – a distance of approximately 21 miles) and the 20 Bridges swim around the Island of Manhattan (a distance of 28.5 miles). Each swim is a daunting and unique challenge. All require thousands and thousands of hours of training both in the pool and in open water, to develop the endurance, the mindset, the stamina and the open water sense to tackle such massive undertakings.

At 22, Bergman has ticked off each of the three swims, one year at a time: Catalina in 2016 with a time of 11:11:47, English Channel in 2017 with a time of 13:15:00, and now Manhattan’s 20 Bridges in 2018 with a time of 7:42:08. Open water swimming is Bergman’s passion. Her summers at home in Los Angeles are spent in regular training sessions with other swimmers who share her love of the open water.

“That was so much fun,” Bergman said. “I could see myself wanting to come back in a few years and swim this again. Meanwhile, I get to think about what swim I want to tackle next.”

On Saturday, at 9:20 a.m. Bergman set a brisk and steady pace with kayaker Agnes Michalek at her side, and the support boat, Bella Vista, keeping up with her and monitoring each of the three rivers
“That was so much fun. I could see myself wanting to come back in a few years and swim this again. Meanwhile, I get to think about what swim I want to tackle next.”

On Saturday, at 9:20 a.m. Bergman set a brisk and steady pace with kayaker Agnes Michalek at her side, and the support boat, Bella Vista, keeping up with her and monitoring each of the three rivers for hazards and safety risks. The race began at the southwestern tip of Manhattan, at Pier A, with the swimmers quickly traversing the last portion of the Hudson River before entering the East River. Each river is also unique – both the Hudson and the East River are heavily influenced by tidal flows – so timing to get through each section of the race is critical to avoid tidal changes which can make swimming almost impossible.

Bergman and her kayaker Michalek settled into a rhythm. with feeding stops every 30 minutes for less than 30 seconds to keep the swimmer hydrated and nutritionally supported. Thanks to the current assist of the rivers, at times Bergman’s pace was almost 4 mph. During the swim, Bergman passed several other swimmers, and ended up finishing second female, fifth overall with a time of 7:42:08.

Bergman finished the swim with a huge smile on her face, “That was so much fun. I could see myself wanting to come back in a few years and swim this again. Meanwhile, I get to think about what swim I want to tackle next.” With 71 percent of the earth’s surface covered by water, there should be no shortage of opportunities.

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AfterShock

Actually, to go from the East River directly to the Hudson River, you would first have to drive up the Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx. If you wanted to swim the entire distance, then you would also swim in the Harlem River, where most of the bridges are. And if you swim on the east side of Roosevelt Island in the East River, then you will also swim under the Roosevelt Island bridge, bringing your total to 21 bridges, or if you count the tramway to Manhattan as a bridge. Fun fact: there are no traffic lights on Roosevelt Island.

Fantastic swim, all!

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