Two Bridges, Two Races: CIBBOWS Season Opener

Many thanks to open water adventurer and SwimSwam contributor, Jake R. Bright, for this feature story.

Coney Island Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers, better known as CIBBOWS, kicked off their 2013 season with the Two Bridges 2.5K and 5K swims in Poughkeepsie, New York. While many know the Hudson River Valley town by driving or walking over its historic overpasses, I joined open water competitors for an exclusive tour, swimming around the panoramic Mid-Hudson and Walkway bridges.

“The Mid-Hudson Region offers CIBBOWS swimmers a great opportunity to expand their open water experiences with fresh water and small town scenery,” said co-race director Dave Barra. “Poughkeepsie’s a great location to open our 2013 open water season.”

Two Bridges is one of several unique open water competitions – nearly all accessible by train or subway from Manhattan – offered by the New York City based CIBBOWS. These include New York Aquarium Triple Dip ocean events and 120 mile, 8 Bridges seven stage swim. I made a day of the Poughkeepsie race, taking the Metro-North train from Grand Central Station up the picturesque Hudson River route on the sunny 90 degree day. The hot humid conditions made the low 60 degree water refreshing, even without a wetsuit. The bridges served as scenic sighting next to our usual orange buoys.

Overall women’s and men’s 2.5K winners were Rebeccah Wassner (see profile) and Arthur Boyko, while Susan Knight and Ed Stoner hit shore first for 5K victories.

Grass roots competition is about its people and CIBBOWS’ opener brought out some pillars of New York’s open water community. Swim guru and Total Immersion founder Terry Laughlin won his age group in the 5K. John Humenik, known for plenty of top finishes in area waterways, served as a volunteer next to venerable competitor, co-race director Rondi Davies. Hannah Borgeson, NYC Swim’s Registrar and Community Support liaison, was second female in the 5K. I managed to meet a number of OWS’ unique competitors (see profiles), while adding some post-race tourism. A late afternoon stroll over The Hudson Walkway provided the rare occasion to walk over the swim course raced earlier in the day.

CIBBOWS has plenty more aqua action in store this season. Check out their new Bannerman’s Island sightseeing swim and training programs for new and experienced and OWS competitors: CIBBOWS.

Jake Bright, open water adventurer & SwimSwam contributor

Jake Bright, open water adventurer & SwimSwam contributor

Jake R. Bright is a New York City based writer & producer.  He covers business, economics, Africa, music, skiing, and open water swimming.

You can follow Jake R. Bright on Twitter here. 

Photo Gallery

Credit: Capri Djatiasmoro

Credit: Capri Djatiasmoro

Credit: Capri Djatiasmoro

Credit: Capri Djatiasmoro

Credit: Capri Djatiasmoro

Credit: Capri Djatiasmoro

Credit: Capri Djatiasmoro

Credit: Capri Djatiasmoro

Two Bridges Co-race Director Dave Barra (Photo Credit: Capri Djatiasmoro)

Two Bridges Co-race Director Dave Barra
(Photo Credit: Capri Djatiasmoro)

Professional Triathlete Rebeccah Wassner trains in both New Paltz and New York, putting in the most laps at Chelsea Piers and the New York Athletic Club. Her training regimen appears to have paid off at Two Bridges, where she was second overall in the 2.5K, first without a wetsuit. A 10 year open water veteran, including CIBBOWS 2011 8 Bridges, Wassner believes competing in open water races gives her an edge in her professional triathlons. “I like the freedom of swimming…the longer distances.” Her favorite part of CIBBOWS Two Bridges, “the spectacular location and race course.” (Credit: Capri Djatiasmoro)

Professional Triathlete Rebeccah Wassner trains in both New Paltz and New York, putting in the most laps at Chelsea Piers and the New York Athletic Club. Her training regimen appears to have paid off at Two Bridges, where she was second overall in the 2.5K, first without a wetsuit. A 10 year open water veteran, including CIBBOWS 2011 8 Bridges, Wassner believes competing in open water races gives her an edge in her professional triathlons. “I like the freedom of swimming…the longer distances.” Her favorite part of CIBBOWS Two Bridges, “the spectacular location and race course.” (Credit: Capri Djatiasmoro)

William Miller’s been competing in the open water since 2000. He trains at SUNY New Paltz with the Shawangunks Maters. His favorite thing about open water swimming, “the variety of the swims, people you meet, and each race is always a challenge.” And on his CIBBOWS 2 Bridges, “I like it anytime I can swim under a large bridge.” (PHOTO CREDIT: Capri Djatiasmoro)

William Miller’s been competing in the open water since 2000. He trains at SUNY New Paltz with the Shawangunks Maters. His favorite thing about open water swimming, “the variety of the swims, people you meet, and each race is always a challenge.” And on his CIBBOWS 2 Bridges, “I like it anytime I can swim under a large bridge.” (PHOTO CREDIT: Capri Djatiasmoro)

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About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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