NEW YORK -- Exhausted and shriveled from nearly a day and a
half in the water, Skip Storch completed a record swim Thursday by
circling the island of Manhattan three times in 32 hours, 52
minutes, 30 seconds.
He beat the previous record by 37:30, and set a record for two
trips around Manhattan, which he did in 20:56:17.
As he crossed the finish in the East River, off E. 96th Street,
his support boats honked their horns and he raised his fist in the
"This definitely was the most difficult swim I ever did,"
Storch struggled after his first lap and needed to have his
wrist taped by a nurse on one of his support boats. The treatment
was complicated because the nurse couldn't touch him, lest he
invalidate the record attempt. Three-foot swells on the Hudson
River that Storch said were "pretty vicious" also caused him to
swallow salt water, making him sick.
"I was so cold," Storch said.
Storch was swimming to raise money for the sarcoidosis treatment
program at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Many New Yorkers -- Storch among them -- contracted the disease
since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 sent clouds of contaminated
dust into the air around the city.
Sarcoidosis is an inflammation that produces tiny clumps of
cells in various organs that can eventually affect their
Storch planned his swim to take advantage of stronger tidal
currents than usual. He rode the tide out down the Hudson and up
the East River three times, pausing to tread water and take
nutrition when the currents, some of which move at up to 4 knots,
would be against him.
Matthew Goldberg, who owns the lead support boat "9th Wonder,"
said tourist boats, water taxis and other vessels helped Storch
out, including the hulking Staten Island Ferry.
"No one holds up the Staten Island Ferry except for Skip
Storch," Storch said.
The previous record for the 85½-mile trip was 33 hours, 30
minutes, set by Stacy Chanin in 1984, when she was 23.