CLEARWATER, FL-- Australian Penny Palfrey opened an early lead over the
field and finished with a 1/2 mile advantage to set a new women's record
at the Tampa Bay Marathon Swim on Saturday, April 19th, 2008.
Palfrey, 45, from Townsville, Queensland, Australia,
completed the 24 mile race in 7 hours, 51 minutes, 24 seconds to
break the women's record that was held by Gail Rice of Miami, Florida. In 1999,
Rice swam the course in 8 hours, 34 minutes, 24 seconds in
a solo effort that featured a pod of dolphin that shadowed her during the final 3 hours
of her swim. The race course covers the entire length of Tampa
Bay and is held each year to celebrate Earth Day and the revitalization of
Florida's largest estuary.
Jose Serra, 34, from Guatemala was the men's champion, finishing in 8 hours, 9 minutes, 15 seconds. All day long, Serra jockeyed for position against the top three relay teams while trying to chase down Penny Palfrey . North Baltimore Aquatic Club swam the bay in 8 hours, 2 minutes, 29 seconds to repeat as relay champions. They were followed by teams from Ft. Lauderdale and St. Petersburg who finished in a virtual dead heat with only 6 seconds separating the two relays when they crossed the finish line at Ben T. Davis Beach.
Weather conditions generally favored the swimmers, aided by an incoming tide and a 10 knot tail wind that persisted all day. A light, 1 to 2 foot chop pushed the competitors towards the finish line as they enjoyed extremely fast times for the event.
Shortly after 11:00am, Support Boat Cordinator / Communications Director Marv Siple held a brief moment of radio silence to remember Dave Parcells, the swimmer who succumbed to cardiac failure after completing the first 9 miles of last year's race. Also in tribute, the paramedic that patrolled the course carried a "Parcells Pack" which included a first aid kit and AED.
Penny Palfrey has become one of the world's best known marathon swimmers. In 2007, she was the overall winner at the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in New York, NY (28.5 miles), the South Head Roughwater Swim in Sydney, Aus. (11k), the Sri Chinmoy National Capital Swim in Canberra, Aus. (8k), and was the women's champion at the Rottnest Channel Swim in Perth, Aus. (20k). Also in 2007, she received the gold medal for the year's fastest swim across the English Channel (9 hours, 7 minutes), awarded by the Channel Swimming Association. She is the oldest female to have crossed the Cook Strait in New Zealand, and may plan to attempt a rare double-crossing of the English Channel sometime in the near future.
Since this event was first staged in 1998, it has drawn competitors from across the United States, Great Britain, Guatemala, Italy, Australia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Germany, India, Canada, and the Cayman Islands. Fourty swimmers participated in this year's event, swimming as soloists or as a part of a relay team. Here are the results for the eight solo swimmers and the ten relay teams that competed for honors:
North Baltimore Aquatic Club - 8 hours, 2 minutes, 29 seconds - Gil
Mandel, 41M, Baltimore, MD; Suzanne Gedney, 39F, Lutherville, MD; Wendy
Quitasol, 45F, Baltimore, MD; Todd Hetzer, 36M, New Freedom, PA; Scott
Breza, 37M, Phoenix, MD; Polly Surhoff, 43F, Cockeysville,
Rip Tide - 8 hours, 11 minutes, 2 seconds - Tim Kennedy, 51M, St. Petersburg, FL; Brian Rimel , 41M, St. Petersburg, FL
Complete information including all results and event history is available at www.DistanceMatters.com.
SOURCE: Distance Matters, Inc.
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