I haven’t gotten up at 3:45 am since my days at the New Jersey TV station News 12, but this morning I wanted to hit the road early to meet NYC Swim‘s race management on the pebble beach by Brooklyn Bridge Park before sunrise. The roads were still empty. Within 30 minutes I made it to Liberty Landing Marina and cast off just before 5 am. It was dark, but the navigation lights and chartplotter threw a neat light on the deck as I ran the boat around the southern end of Manhattan and up the East River.
We picked up the course markers — five-foot-round, bright yellow and orange buoys connected to a rope, with chain and anchor — and started placing them under the Brooklyn Bridge and across the East River, marking the route for more than 400 swimmers that would soon be racing across the channel.
As the sun was coming up, swimmers, kayakers and other support boats started arriving. Photographers from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Daily News came aboard to get closer to the action.
The USCG and NYPD were on scene and closed the East River to all boat traffic shortly before the first wave of athletes splashed at 7:15 am, competing in the 1K swim under one of the most famous bridges in the world. Bruce Brockschmidt, 45, of Mount Laurel, N.J., placed first, making the crossing in an impressive 13:09 minutes.
A few swimmers had to be rescued for various reasons, but most made it to the finish on a small sand beach at Dover Street in East River Park. As always, this was a very well organized event and I’m looking forward to working the next NYC Swim on July 28th at Governors Island.