• Is there a rest day between Stages 4 and 5?
    • Not exactly. There are two “rain” days built into the schedule: one after stage 4, which accommodates a delay of stages 1, 2, 3 or 4 due to an extreme weather event, and one after stage 7 which accommodates a delay of stages 5, 6 or 7. While rain, even if heavy, will not be reason to cancel, electrical storms and very strong winds will be cause for delay or cancellation. Every effort will be made to proceed as scheduled.
  • How do the “rain” dates work?
    • In the case of a stage being cancelled due to high winds or electrical storms, we will endeavor to reschedule the stage for the following day in which case subsequent stages will also move ahead one day. For example, if Stage 2 is cancelled due to extreme weather, it will be moved to the date scheduled for Stage 3. Then Stages 3 and 4 will be moved forward a day to occur to their rain date. The 8 Bridges schedule has a buffer day after Stage 4 to accommodate a delay of Stages 1, 2, 3 or 4, and one after Stage 7 to accommodate a delay of Stages 5, 6 or 7.
  • Is there a non-traditional swimsuit (e.g. wetsuit) category for this event?
    • No – none of NYOW’s marathon events allow non-traditional swimsuits of any kind.
    • The swimsuit (for both genders) shall be of a material not offering thermal protection or buoyancy and shall be sleeveless and legless: ‘Sleeveless’ shall mean the suit must not extend beyond the end of the shoulder onto the upper arm. ‘Legless’ shall mean the suit shall not extend onto the upper leg below the level of the crotch. Review attached file for visual examples.
    • The cap shall not offer thermal protection or buoyancy. The Observer will have to approve the suit and cap. The Swimmer must make sure their suit and cap are of an approved type before starting, as the swim will not be recognized if they do not conform.
  • Can I wear KT (kinesiology) tape?
    • No, KT tape anywhere on the swimmer is not allowed for any reason.
  • Can I wear a Watch, Garmin, Smart Goggles, Heart Rate Monitor, or other types of informational/tracking /data devices?
    • No devices of any kind digital or analog are allowed.   
  • Can you rank the 7 swim stages by degree of difficulty?
    • The following list is a degree of difficulty comparison for the seven 8 Bridges stages and some of the more well-known swims in the area. Listed from easiest to most difficult (opinions as always will vary):
  1. Spuyten Duyvil 10k
  2. Coney Island Loop (3 miles)
  3. Chesapeake Bay (4.4 miles)
  4. Stage 6 Tappan Zee to George Washington Bridge
  5. Stage 3 Mid-Hudson Bridge to Newburgh-Beacon Bridge
  6. Boston Light (depending on water temp)
  7. Kingdom 10 mile
  8. Stage 4 Newburgh-Beacon Bridge to Bear Mountain Bridge
  9. Rose Pitonoff
  10. Ederle-Burke (depending on water temp)
  11. Stage 1 Rip Van Winkle Bridge to Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge
  12. Stage 7 George Washington Bridge to Verrazano Bridge
  13. 20 Bridges
  14. Stage 2 Kingston-Rhinecliff to Mid-Hudson Bridge
  15. Stage 5 Bear Mt Bridge to Tappan Zee Bridge
  16. Tampa Bay
  • Which stage/s should I swim?
    • Each stage of 8 Bridges is unique and has its own special attributes which is part what makes it such a great event. Below we highlight some of the features of each stage to help you work out which stage/s you’d like to swim.
      • The stage with the least current assist is 5; swimmers typically start this stage late in the flood tide.
      • The more peaceful and rural stages are 1 and 2.
      • The most urban stages are 6 and 7.
      • Stage 7 has the most iconic scenery and intense boat traffic being that you are swimming through the heart of the NY Harbor; you swim past the Statue of Liberty and have spectacular views of the Empire State Building and other great NYC landmarks.
      • The most fun and social stage is 6; being so accessible to the city. Stage 6 gathers a lot of contenders coming out to ride the fast currents.
      • Stage 4 has the most majestic scenery with the Bannerman’s Castle, the towering Hudson Highlands fjord, and West Point.
      • Stage 3 is the most simple, straightforward and relaxing stage.
      • The most difficult stages are 5 and 2 for their sheer distance (20 miles).
      • Stages 1 and 2 have the best lighthouses.
  • How difficult is it to swim a marathon swim day after day?
    • If you are considering taking the 7 day, 120 mile challenge, or swimming two or three stages, be assured it’s not as hard as it sounds. Yes, it’s hard to get going each morning after swimming four or five hours the previous day, but provided you pace yourself swimming day after day becomes second nature. One way to approach the magnitude of back to back marathon swims is to consider it as a long hike, say on the Appalachian trail, and to pace yourself as such.
  • What does “recommended pace” mean?
    • Recommended pace is an estimate of the pace (not current assisted) you need to hold for the duration of a stage (4+ hours) in order to finish the stage before the tide turns and you cannot complete the swim. Being a tidal estuary, the Hudson flows in two directions twice a day. Each morning the swim starts on the ebb (outgoing) tide, which provides of window of four to seven hours to complete a stage.
      • Recommended paces range from 27 minutes per mile (Stage 5) to 44 minutes per mile (Stage 6). See the 7 Stages for the recommended pace for each stage.
  • Should I tip my kayaker?
    • 8 Bridges pays kayakers a per diem to cover their logistical expenses. But yes, by all means please show your gratitude however you see fit.
  • I’m swimming Stage 7 and coming from out of town can you help me to find crew
    • Please reach out to us as soon as possible and we will do our best to find an experienced local to crew for you.  NOTE: Only Stage 7 requires and allows individual crew
  • My friend is swimming one or more stages and I’d like to watch and support them, how can I?
    • You can crew for them on Stage 7, for all other stages you may volunteer to support the event.  When supporting the event, you will be assigned where needed and its possible that you will not be with your swimmer.  This is due to the fact that one boat supports multiple swimmers – we play a zone defense in the less crowded waterways.  
  • Is there a set starting point and time for the swim or is it determined by tides etc?
    • The start time of the swim can vary based on the tides and other factors, this information will be communicated to you well in advance of the swim.  
    • The starting point of all stages is the south end of the bridge except Stage 1 which is the north end.
  • Is there a schedule for the timings for the swim available?
    • This information is set out to the swimmers as soon as it’s available, but at least a week prior to the swim.
  • Is there a pre-race meeting the day or evening prior to the event date so that the swimmer and kayaker may meet up?  
    • The pre-race meeting takes place the morning of the swim. David Barra will stand up on something, gesture with one hand holding a cup of coffee, and talk and point in various directions. A few days before the swim you will receive the contact information for your kayaker and can begin communicating such things as feed schedule, position of swimmer to kayak, any additional information.
  • What does my entry fee pay for?
    • 8 Bridges takes place in a busy commercial waterway and so we take the safety of swimmers and their support team very seriously. Most of your entry fee pays for our safety boaters. We also pay kayakers a per diem of $200 for each stage. The rest of your fee covers insurance, swag and refreshments on the boats. NYOW is a non-profit organization and relies on the volunteer efforts of the race directors and other support staff to keep the costs of the event as low as possible.
  • Where should I stay?
  • May I bring my own paddler?
    • If you wish to bring your own paddler we will need to vet them based on their experience.  The Hudson River has multiple challenges for paddlers supporting swimmers including but not limited to: serious chop, winds greater than 15 MPH, barge traffic, high speed ferries, pleasure boats, and various watercrafts all while trying to maintain a favorable line for the swimmer. If you do bring your own paddler they are required to have a marine radio.
  • Do escort boats have warming or icing facilities, e.g. microwaves, coolers, or water boilers?
    • Assume that they do NOT! Swimmers and their crew are responsible for bringing their own sustenance (e.g. feeds, hot water, etc).  Also, do not ask the kayakers to mix feeds during the swim, this should all be done beforehand and feeds handed to the kayakers complete.

Some important points to note:

  • Don’t be LATE! The schedule is based around the Hudson’s currents and has little buffer for lateness. We start each stage at the start of the outgoing ebb (and sometimes the end of the flood) in order to give swimmers every opportunity to finish the stage before the flood on the other end pushes them back. Getting to the starting bridge late will shorten the time for the swim and the possibility for all swimmers to finish the stage.
  • Swimmers Pack light and put it all in one marked bag. Please keep all of your personal belongings contained in a bag (waterproof recommended).
  • Swimmer Bag Tag. Please use the identification bag tag we give you as it’s likely we will need to move your bag around during the day. Also, pack light. Space is limited.
  • Have your feeds organized in a small soft cooler bag or mesh bag that you are able to hand off to your kayaker. We request that you give this to your kayaker before boat loading to simplify water entry. Be sure to explain your feeding system clearly to your kayaker…. simple is better. We encourage you to make contact with your kayaker prior to event day since there will be very little time to discuss details of feeding and communication prior to the start of the stage.
  • Since you will be feeding from a kayak, ropes, feed poles, etc are not necessary, though if you are using heavy insulated bottles, please ensure that there is some way to retrieve it if it is dropped…. (float, string, etc). There will be water, gatorade on our support boats if needed, and we can resupply kayakers if necessary.
  • Swimmer GPS Tracking. NYOW will provide each swimmer with a SPOT GPS tracker. This must be kept in the waterproof case provided and be placed in the kayak. At the end of each stage the SPOT tracker must be returned to Rondi. All swimmers can be tracked using this link: https://track.rs/NYOW
  • Communications. Kayakers are swimmers primary support crew and will be reporting into the support boats every 30 minutes via marine radio. We will establish a communication system to keep our event channel 06 from getting “cluttered”.
  • Kayaker contact. During the event the kayaker coordinator is Alex Arevalo (alex@nyopenwater.org).
  • Navigation Maps for Kayakers. Navigation maps of the course we will take can be downloaded at the following link: https://www.nyopenwater.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/8B-Maps.pdf
  • Swimmer – Kayaker Assignments. Swimmer-kayaker assignments will be communicated prior to the beginning of the event.
  • Volunteers. Be sure to bring sun protection and gear to deal with the elements as most of the boats do not have any cover. Volunteers can get in the water to relieve themselves or swim with a swimmer (for up to an hour at a time) as long as the swimmer and the paddler is ok with it.  The volunteer can stay beside the swimmer but please obtain prior approval from a race director.
  • Stage 7 Boaters. Boaters for Stage 7 are required to transport their swimmer, observer, kayaker and kayak to the start of Stage 7. At the conclusion of the stage they should pick up the swimmer, kayaker and kayak and return them to La Marina. Staten Island and Brooklyn boaters do not need to return to La Marina after Stage 7. They will need to unload their passengers onto the main support vessel.
  • Social Media. Tag us (@nyopenwater)  in your pictures and video and share using #8Bridges.