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Manhattan Island | Please tap on the glass

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Manhattan Island

The Manhattan Island Marathon Swim was what got me into distance swimming. It was in no way my first distance swim. Not even close. It took me three years to be accepted, and along the way I built a swimming resume and learned a whole lot about swimming by trial and error.

On the journey to this swim, I had an awesome website, AndrewSwimsMIMS.com built by MIMS-kayaker Christina. There, I documented the long stretch leading up to MIMS, with thirty weeks worth of workouts, and thirty weeks of me complaining about swimming in public pools. Although, this was also the period where I discovered the Riverbank group and CIBBOWS, so it isn’t all negative. It’s still up, and worth a look if you’re into that sort of thing.

I’ve not done a write-up for MIMS even though it is almost two years later. This seems like as good a time as any to start.


Getting to Manhattan

There was a time when I had ceased to be a swimmer. I ran a bit, played some water polo, got into triathlons, and then graduated college and started travelling a lot. More on this later, but at some point I got back into swimming, and when I did I immediately started looking for a goal. I recalled a friend from my age group team had swam around Manhattan way back when. As easily as that, I decided I, too, was going to swim around Manhattan. Why not, right? I mean, it sounds really cool.

The thing about the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim is, it’s hard to get accepted. They check your swimming resume, ask all about your training plan, and generally want details about you as a swimmer. Crazy stuff like that. It was so obvious to me that I could complete the swim, why did they need me to prove it? I mean, I’d done a 5k or two and survived adolescence on a swim team, so. Plus, I’d already traveled to the Lake District that September to do my four-hour qualifying swim. (Side note: Lake Coniston is gorgeous in September, but the 54 degree water takes some getting used to.) Despite my best efforts at sounding confident, 2010 would not be my year for MIMS. Surprise, surprise.

So I buckled in, looked around, and quickly found a way shorter body of water to cross. In May, I completed my first marathon swim by crossing the Strait of Gibraltar (more on that to come as well). Now, with that and a 6.5k under my belt…the belt of my swim suit, I guess…surely they’d let me in next year. After all, I knew how to swim over ten miles. November came; the “thanks for applying” letter came shortly thereafter.

By now, late 2010, I’d put traveling on pause and was back in New York, living in North Brooklyn. To continue my resume-building, I swam the Kingdom Swim in Vermont and the Chesapeake Bay swim plus two NYC Swim events in the summer of 2011, volunteered for a few other NYC Swim events including as a kayaker for MIMS. To be extra certain, I agreed to fundraise the NYC Swim’s charity. In late October while on vacation at the beach in South Carolina, I found out my efforts had paid off. An hour or so later, I was in the ocean doing a victory lap.

The only thing left to do was to figure out how to do this thing. How hard could it be?

And this just in, all of my application essays still exist on the NYC Swim site. Cringe. Perhaps someday I’ll share them, if I can ever bring myself to read what young Andrew wrote back then.

AndrewSwimsMIMS.com summary

AndrewSwimsMIMS.com was my training blog, fundraising page, and very often motivation during MIMS training. I’m very proud of the website, and therefore I’m pouting tens of dollars into it each decade to maintain it for your and my viewing pleasures.

There are way to many entries on ASM to repost, plus that isn’t how the internet works. Instead, I’ll give you all the links along with their original cryptic titles and summaries. Enjoy!

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