Swimming Duo in Final Preparations for Manhattan 20 Bridges Swim

Henley open water swimmers Laura Reineke and Lee Saudan are in their final preparations for their Manhattan 20 Bridges overnight swim on 21 June.

This swim is part of the triple crown of open water swimming, and is a marathon swimming challenge consisting of three historically important swims: The English Channel, 33 km between France and England (which Lee completed in 2022, and Laura in 2023) The Catalina Channel, 32.5 km between Catalina Island and the California mainland.  Laura said, “If we complete all three we will become two of only around 292 people to hold the title.”

Henley Mermaid, Laura and Lee met at Henley Open Water Swimming Club are swimming the 48.5km starting at 19:30 NY time (00:30 in London)!  Laura explained, “Adhering to strict channel swimming rules we will be wearing just a swimsuit, swimming hat, and goggles.  This is a solo event, meaning we will be swimming the full distance, but this time swimming in tandem side by side, both with our own safety boats.  We will be fed on a fishing line, with liquid feeds, and will be starting from Lower Manhattan, West Side, and swimming under all 20 bridges that link Manhattan island to the mainland.”

The swim travels through three “rivers” that are all tidal straits or estuaries. Laura commented, “The East River, connecting New York Harbour to Long Island Sound, has some ripping-fast tides that will have us shooting under the iconic Brooklyn Bridge and other spans as you pass the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. The Harlem River, connecting the East River to the Hudson, is quite mellow by comparison, with relatively calm waters and a slower current. Though it’s just 8 miles long, the Harlem River is crossed by 15 bridges, most of them between Manhattan and the Bronx! Then, of course, is the mighty Hudson, separating Manhattan from the state of New Jersey. The only bridge during this stretch is the magnificent George Washington Bridge, with the Little Red Lighthouse tucked at its base.”

The duo are swimming to raise funds for WildFish, and to raise awareness of the stresses that all waterways and their inhabitants face in the current climate. From pollution, barriers, overfishing and abstraction. Laura and Lee said, “We would love your support to reach our goal, and motivate us to keep on swimming! Please visit our fundraising page here.

You can follow their swim by keeping an eye on their social media, on a tracker here, and they have a WhatsApp group, which will be updated with progress you can join here. The group will not be open for comments until they begin.

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