• What can I prepare in advance for the application form?
    • Emergency contact name & relationship:
    • Emergency contact phone number:
    • Medical conditions
    • List your marathon swimming experience over the past three years. (Do not include DNFs, Wetsuited swims or relays here)
    • List any other marathon swimming experience you consider relevant.
    • List any other athletic activities you would like us to consider in your application.
    • Water temperatures on June 1 will be as low as 60 ̊F. To be considered for this date, list your cold water experience.
    • Include a one to three paragraph biography about yourself suitable for publication including your marathon swimming experiences.
    • Include a photo of yourself that we have permission to use on our website and social media platforms.
    • Provide your feeding plan for a marathon swim.
    • Name of charity you are fundraising for if applicable
  • Do I need to provide any medical records or a doctor’s sign off?
    • We highly recommend regular physical checkups from qualified medical professionals with an understanding of the physical demands of Marathon Swimming
  • What qualifies as a Marathon Swim?
    • Any documented swims greater than a 10K.  The documentation can be a link to the swim event results website or a centralizing website such as Marathons Swimmer Federation.  
    • The following are some example of swims that do not count as Marathon Swims:  swims done with wetsuits, swim-runs, current assist 10K, mountain climbing, relays, etc
  • Is there a non-traditional swimsuit (e.g. wetsuit) category for this event?
  • Can I wear a Garmin, Smart Goggles or other types of informational/tracking /data devices?
    • No, as we adhere to the Marathon Federation rules for standard equipment.   But as part of the 20 Bridges event, we do provide a SPOT tracker for your family and friends to be able to ‘follow’ you. At the completion of your swim, you may also order a custom made GPS track of your swim overlain on a map of Manhattan  for a fee of $55.
  • Do swimmers need to provide their own kayakers?
    • No, NYOW will provide you with an experienced swimmer escort paddler. If you have a paddler with escort experience you can have them apply for approval.
  • I’m doing a ‘quiet swim” – Are there any differences I should be aware of?
    • The quiet swims are more low key for sure. Swimmers need to be ready to go when they are on the dock as they will get picked up and put in the water soon after. Please make sure you bring towels to protect the boat from your zinc cream etc. These swims use RHIBs so the crew must be prepared for less comfort and no head.
  • Does the swimmer take feeds from the kayak or the escort boat?
    • Swimmers are fed from the kayak only. At various points in the course depending on the size of the boat and the marine traffic it may not be safe for the swimmer to be close to the escort boat.  
  • 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.
  • How close to the shore is the course?
    • It varies depending on which river you are in, the winds, the current, boat traffic, etc.  However if you are looking to see or cheer on your swimmers there are some places that are possible…but no guarantees such as: many of the bridges along the Harlem River are low (check wikipedia), the promenade at Battery Park City at the very end of the swim, western shores of the Harlem River, East River along Roosevelt Island. Google Earth is a good tool for scoping.
  • How close is the support boat to the swimmer
    • It varies depending on conditions.  As a general rule the kayak is next to the swimmer, the swimmer sights off the kayak not the escort boat.
  • What is the cutoff time?
    • There is no specific cutoff time for this event.  The RD will make the judgement call if the swimmer is no longer making forward progress.   
  • What is the role of your observer- how involved are they in the swim?
    • The observer is present to document the swim, to ensure the rules are followed, and an additional set of eyes to keep the swimmer safe.  They are not considered part of the crew. Most of the observers are highly experienced with this event and many have completed the swim themselves.
  • Average water temp
    • This is of course date dependent and does vary from year to year.  You can look at sites such as this to get an historical range.

https://www.seatemperature.org/

  • Is there a pre-race meeting the day or evening prior to the event date so that the swimmer, kayaker, and support boat captain 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.
  • Are “swim buddies” allowed?
    • Support swimmers are allowed only in the Hudson River north of Riverbank State Park   ~145th st and in the Harlem River north of 103 St. Supports swimmers can only accompany swimmers for one hour blocks of time.
    • It is at the discretion of the Observer and the Boat Captain during the swim as to whether this will be allowed given the current weather conditions and boat traffic.
  • How many crew do I need and is there a maximum?
    • You must have at least 1 person crewing you and you are allowed two crew members. If you require more crew, you may need to pay extra as they will require a larger boat. Keep in mind you will also be provided with a kayaker, so they will be handling your feeds.
  • Is there a set starting point and time for the swim or is it determined by tides etc?
    • The start point 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. It is usually either Pier A at the southern tip of Manhattan or Mill Rock on the Upper East Side.
  • Is there a schedule for check in/registering and 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.
  • I’m 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.
  • Can children be crew members?
    • Crew should be 16 years or older
  • Do we have to wear swim caps?
    • Yes, absolutely!!!  The event provides a bright swim cap that must be worn, we need to be able to see you clearly especially on days when the weather is sporty. Black or white swim caps are not allowed.
  • No refunds, no transfers, no deferments