Group recreates historic swim
Aug 24, 2011 | 2446 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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On Saturday, August 13, six swimmers swam 17 miles from East 26th Street in Manhattan to Steeplechase Pier on Coney Island to commemorate the historic swim of 17-year-old Rose Pitonof, who successfully completed the same swim exactly 100 years ago to that day.

Lori Carena finished in 5:47:08; Cara McAteer in 5:51:05; Leonard Jansen in 6:01:15; Jaimie Monahan in 6:03:48; Alan Morrison in 6:09:04; and Jason Malick completed the swim in 6:24:53.

In the early 1900's, when Pitonof did her swim, very few people knew how to swim, and many women were actively discouraged from learning how to swim. The General Slocum tragedy of June 15, 1904, in which 1,021 passengers died trying to save themselves from a burning boat that was banked in seven feet of water less than 20 feet from shore was a heartbreaking illustration of this situation.

The distance between the two points is 17 miles, but it is estimated that Pitonof covered 21 miles during her eight hours and seven minutes in the water. She swam mostly breaststroke, occasionally passing underneath piers. Her nutrition for the day was a chicken sandwich and a cup of coffee before she started her swim. It is estimated that a crowd of 50,000 were cheering for her at Coney Island.

“I had experienced an injury during training for my second Ironman, and was told that I could no longer bike or run,” said Deanna Draeger, swim organizer. “When I read an article about Rose, I knew that I had to plan to recreate this historic swim in her honor and started putting together this event.”

Draeger intends to establish The Rose Pitonof Swim as an annual event sponsored by her organization, Urban Swim.
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