Grandmother Swims Against The Tide

Sunday, June 21, 2009

by Lara Pellegrinelli

Photo by David Nager.

Penny Palfrey took first place among the female competitors at the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim on June 6, completing the 28.5 mile counterclockwise route around the island in just 7 hours and 17 minutes. Apparently, that wasn't enough of a challenge for the 46 year-old grandmother. On Monday, she'll attempt the route again, only this time in reverse, swimming against the current for a significant portion of her journey. If she succeeds, she'll be the first woman to complete the swim. In fact, there's only one other person known to have finished it-- and it took him 18 hours.

Palfrey, a native of Townsville, Australia, became the first person to successfully swim the Santa Barbara Channel from San Miguel Island to California last year. And, in March, she became the first woman to swim from Hawaii's Big Island to Maui. The last time anyone conquered that particular stretch of ocean was over 40 years ago. Will the waters of New York be the scene of her next triumph?

Photo by Lara Pellegrinelli.


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Comments [1]

Steven Munatones

Knowledgeable observers of the sport have no doubt that Penny will complete the "reverse circumnavigation" of Manhattan Island; the only issue is by how much will she break the record. Within the marathon swimming world, Rather than a grandmother, Penny is more looked upon as a formidable and savvy competitor who remains faster and bolder than many men and women half her age. Whether it is a world record relay attempt in New Zealand, an inter-island challenge in Hawaii or a reverse circumnavigation around New York, Penny often goes - and succeeds - where few others dare.

Jun. 21 2009 04:21 AM

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