Distance Matters

Home of the 24 Mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim


March 18, 2017 Results

About the results

This video recap is from the 2017 Tampa Bay Marathon Swim.  To see historical results, starting wth the pioneering swims in 1998, download the .pdf via the link below.

John Batchelder & The Mighty Mermaids Complete 24 Mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim

April 2, 2017 -  John Batchelder, 36, from Littleton, Colorado completed a 24 mile endurance test that will be regarded as one of the greatest Butterfly swims of all-time.   He was able to finish The 24 Mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim in 14 hours, 41 minutes.  He started in darkness, before sunrise and swam the entire length of Florida's largest estuary doing the most difficult of the 4 competitive swimming strokes.  Taking a short break for a drink and  food each half hour, he maintained a legal Butterfly stroke for the entire day.  Even though his arrival at Ben T. Davis Beach was about one hour after sunset, there was an enthusiastic party to greet him as he cleared the water for the official finish.






Mighty Mermaids Relay relay team also swam the course on the same day, returning to the event after last year's race was shortened due to high winds.  The relay team  features six women that are top-ranked masters swimmers, all about 60 years of age.  Each swam a one hour segment, then did 30 minute shifts until all stepped into the water to finish as a group.  Their time is the fastest ever for a relay in their age group category for Tampa Bay's 24 mile swim course.





Conditions were very favorable for most of the day.  Swimmers and crew encountered 7kt headwinds and a slight chop early in the morning, but winds  were mostly still at mid-day.  The sea breeze held off until 5pm, so John Batchelder saw choppy conditions for the last 4 hours of his swim.  Water Temperature: 72F/22C







The solo Butterfly swimmer and the six-person relay team began their day in the water at 7:00am, starting at the Magnusson Resort near the Skyway Bridge in St. Petersburg, Florida.  The Mighty Mermaids finished at Ben T. Davis Beach on the Courtney Campbell Causeway at 5:21pm, for a total time of 10 hours, 21 minutes.   John Batchelder finished his swim at 9:41pm, swimming a legal Butterfly stroke for the entire distance.  

April 2nd, 2017 Results

John Batchelder, 36M, Littleton, CO, USA - Butterfly 14 hours, 41 min on 4.2.17

Mighty Mermaids Relay - 10 hours, 21 minutes on 4.2.17
Traci Grilli, 60F, Londonderry, NH
Nancy Steadman Martin, 62F, Oceanport, NJ
Christie Ciraulo, 63F, Los Angeles, CA
Veronica Hibben, 60F, Huntington Beach, CA
Karen Einsidler, 61F, Tenafly, NJ
Jenny Cook, 59F, Los Angeles, CA



See Raw Footage at YouTube, Pictures at Facebook, and Tweets at Twitter

March 18, 2017 - Tampa Bay, Florida, USA - Kristian O'Donovan's solo attempt began at 8:20am, starting at the Magnusson Resort near the Skyway Bridge in St. Petesburg, Florida.  He finished at Ben T. Davis Beach on the Courtney Campbell Causeway at 7:52pm, for a total time of 11 hours, 32 minutes. 


Conditions were very pleasant for the swimmer and crew as they travelled the 24 mile length of Tampa Bay.  Water temperature was 66F/19C, and the light winds made virtually no chop until an afternoon sea breeze gently nudged him towards the finish line. He is the first swimmer from Ireland to finish this marathon swim.  He said that the Tampa Bay swim is, "A great swim, but not an easy swim.  I think people underestimate its difficulty, and it was mentally one of the toughest swims I have had to do."


Kristian O'Donovan is a 37 year old from Glenbeigh, Kerry, Ireland who came back to Tampa Bay after last year's race event was cancelled due to high winds.  He was a competitive swimmer in his youth, but returned to training in 2014 after a 20 year hiatus.  After swimming the English Channel and Tampa Bay, this summer he plans to swim across the Catalina Channel in California on June 1st, then a swim around Manhattan, NYC on June 24.  Once he completes all four epic marathon swims, (English Channel, Manhattan, Catalina and Tampa Bay) he will have completed the "Grand Slam of Open Water Marathon Swimming."


He is also raising money for 3 charities in Ireland.  As he is financing his flights, accomodations and entry fees by himself, all monies raised will go to the charities.  For more information, or to donate, visit  https://www.gofundme.com/3bigswims


This solo attempt was a preview of next month's 19th Annual 24 Mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim.   Many of the entrants are internationally-known, and some are members of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

Kristian O'Donovan is the First Irishman to Swim the 24 Mile Length of Tampa Bay

Gail Rice, 1998