If you find yourself in New York City next Saturday and want to see 25 solo swimmers and 14 relay teams compete in Manhattan Island Marathon Swim starting at 7:00 am, there are several recommended areas that offers good views of the swimmers.
Early in the race - before 9:00 am - swimmers can be seen on the pedestrian walkway along the streets numbered between the 60's and 80's. A bit further north at Gracie Mansion Park at the end of the East River and just south of Mill Rock (96th Street) are excellent locations. With a vantage point up high, you can watch swimmers advance northward. Depending on the tide cycle, there may also be large waves bringing additional challenges to the swimmers and kayakers.
Later in the day, swimmers can be seen on the Hudson River at Riverbank State Park between 137-144th streets which is located here. Alternatively, there is a pier just to the south at 125th Street which offers another good viewing spot.
You can also cheer on the swimmers at Battery Park City towards the north end on the water. If you bring binoculars, then you will see the swimmers, kayakers and escort boats gradually traveling down the river.
This vantage point gives you a great perspective on just how significant the current strength impacts a swimmer's performance. Swimmers will be moving faster southbound along the sea wall than the spectators can run.
With a 7:00 am start, the winning solo swimmers and relays should be at the finish at the south cover of Battery Park City within 7 hours and 30 minutes. So be ready and watching at 2:30 pm.
Based on the previous year's races and the expected tides, the fastest swimmers are expected at the following points during the race:
7:18 am at the Brooklyn Bridge
7:34 am at the Williamburg Bridge
8:15 am at Roosevelt Island
8:47 am at Mill Rock
9:33 am at the Triborough Bridge
10:14 am at Yankee Stadium
11:19 am at Spuyten Duyvil
12:07 pm at the George Washington Bridge
1:15 pm at the 79th Boat Basin
1:36 pm the USS Intrepid (see photo above)
2:14 pm at the Battery Park City sea wall
2:27 pm at finish
The fastest swimmers are expected to spend about an hour and 47 minutes swimming in the East River, 2 hours and 32 minutes swimming in the Harlem River and 3 hours and 8 minutes swimming in the Hudson River. The last swimmers are expected to finish around 5 pm.
We will also be providing live updates on Twitter via http://twitter.com/swimopenwater.