Open Water Swimming

Tobie Smith Wins 18th Annual Manhattan Island Marathon Swim In Record Time


NEW YORK, N.Y., June 12, 1999 - Tobie Smith, a 25-year-old college student from Austin, Texas, won the 18th annual Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (MIMS). Her record time for the 28.5 mile course was six hours, 32 minutes, 41 seconds (6:32:41.) It was her first attempt at the swim. She received the Gallagher Cup, named for MIMS founder Drury Gallagher, for winning the race.

"I was very pleased with my swim," said Smith. "The water, which was about 65 degrees, was very clean. The current was swift and I really enjoyed it. It's a great way to see New York."

Tobie Smith visits New York the hard way - by swimming around Manhattan
Click image for larger photo. Photo © Marco Chiesa

Smith and 29 other individual swimmers, a record number, along with two six-person relay teams, began the race at Gangway 6 on the Hudson River side of Battery Park in lower Manhattan. They took a counterclockwise, tide-assisted route around Manhattan, going up the East River, through the Harlem River to the northern tip of Manhattan, and down the Hudson River back to Battery Park.

In second place was Tammy van Wisse, 30, a motivational speaker from Victoria, Australia, with a time of six hours, 51 minutes, 31 seconds (6:51:31.) Finishing in third, fourth and fifth place were Robert Copeland, 42, a data services company executive from Somerset, NJ with a time of six hours, 52 minutes, 49 seconds (6:52:49); Kris Rutford, 39, a CPA, from Lincoln, NE, with seven hours, 10 minutes, 24 seconds (7:10:24); and David Blanke, 39, an attorney from Dallas, TX, with seven hours, 10 minutes, 55 seconds (7:10:55.)

Two individual swimmers, Linda Devereux, 38, of the Channel Islands, U.K., and Benn Kramer, 41, of West Vancouver, Canada, were forced to retire early.

The swim is sponsored by the Manhattan Island Foundation (MIF), in conjunction with Hudson River Park Conservancy, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, West Glen Communications and corporate sponsor D'Agostino Supermarkets.

It is organized by MIF, which each year makes a donation to help New York City neighborhoods establish and expand swimming programs for children, called the Learn to Swim program, and to rehabilitate swimming pools. More than $75,000 has been donated so far.

More information about MIMS and MIF, including history, past results and this year's race, can be found at

The official results:
1. Tobie Smith, 25, Austin, TX 	6:32:41
2. Tammy van Wisse, 30, Victoria, AUS	 6:51:31
3. Robert Copeland, 42, Somerset, NJ 	6:52:49
4. Kris Rutford, 39, Lincoln, NE 	7:10:24
5. David Blanke, 39, Dallas, TX 	7:10:55
6. Marcella MacDonald, 35, Andover, CT	 7:13:04
7. David Boudreau, 40, Weston, FL 	7:15:13
8. Susie Maroney, 24, Sydney, AUS 	7:15:59
9. Sally Minty-Gravett, 41, England 	7:19:56
10. Alison Streeter, 34, England 	7:20:18
11. Mark Lohnes, 33, Lincoln, NE 	7:28:25
12. Yoshihio Tsukada, 31, Japan 	7:29:16
13. Michael Ross, 51, New York, NY 	7:30:32
14. Vince Herring, 56, Rochester, MN	 7:31:22
15. Kathleen Wilson, 36, Charleston, SC 	7:37:20
16. Nick Olmos-Lau, 53, Washington, DC 	7:38:05
17. Henry Eckstein, 51, New York, NY 	7:38:43
18. Craig Kandell, 38, New York, NY 	7:44:56
19. Paul Lewis, 38, England, 	7:46:32
20. Alison Horsfall, 25,  England	7:46:55
21. John Langton, Jr., 32, Somerville, MA 	7:48:50
22. Tim Lawrence, 33, Waterloo, IA 	7:51:07
23. James Pittar, 28, Australia 	7:53:55
24. Lee Sowter, 23, England 	7:56:47
25. Klaus Stutzer, 55, Germany 	7:57:38