Coach Notes: September 13th, 1910

at National Head Quarters, while the writer, a 20 year veteran life guard holding the rank of Commodore, in the U.S. Life Saving Force, was engaged in turning in his weekly reports of rescues from drowning in his district, there appeared a finely developed, clean cut young lady, accompanyed by her maid, her manager, and his friend, their very pleasant visit was made to seek information about the best swimming records in long distance swimming ever made from N.Y. to Coney Island, also the tides &c.

The Secretary of the organization, M.K. Merthens, referred them to the writer as an expert on tides, long distance swims, channels, &c. also that in coaching, he has the proud record in the organization of always bringing in the winners of the long distance swims held annually by the organization, a compliment worth remembering.

bred & born in Boston, announced through her manager she was ready & anxious and could out swim and out distance any long distance swim that was ever made by any champion men & women included.

Her manager & the writer entered into business & mapped out a course of 17 1/2 miles from East 23rd St. Pier, East River to Coney Island, the swim to take place on the morning of the 18th at 8:30 AM.

In less than one hour after, it was rumored through Head Quarters, a little 15 year old girl, in short dresses, came down from the New England states for the purpose of eclipsing & defeating any Battery Coney Island swimming record that was ever accomplished in N.Y. water.

They picked two of their very best swimmers with good endurance records who accomplished some previous records in & around N.Y.  They waited in hiding behind the opposite pier, on that never to be forgotten September 18, 1910 which was foot of East 24th St. for the little Boston girl to start, which on their part was very unsportsmanlike, not hinting or letting no body or any body know they were up to this trick, not even the writer who gave 20 years of his life in the service of the organization.

Miss Pitonof won as recorded, the greatest marvel & long distance swimmer the world has ever known.

She, Miss Pitonof, not only beat her two ambitious rivals, but also beat & broke the World’s Championship records, in the fastest time ever recorded in this or any other part of the world, distance 17 1/2 miles, her timemade at Head Quarters, that she could outswim the world’s very best records in long distance swimming, either sex included.

Did she make good, she certainly did, and what’s more it remains unduplicated.

This brave little mermaid was hailed and pronounced by the sporting fraternity of the country the undisputed & undefeated Champion of the World, and will defend the title against all comers, either sex.


  1. #1 by triathlonkarin on July 21, 2011 - 6:35 am

    This is a great story ,Is there a swim every year ?? on th18th ?That would be great !I would try to train for it !17 miles is a long way I ve done sevearl triathlons but 17 miles !

  2. #2 by ddraeger on July 21, 2011 - 11:00 am

    There will be a swim every year around the 13th of August to commemorate this swim: http://nycswim.org/Article/ArticleTemplate.aspx?Article_ID=826

    Yes, 17 miles is a long way. :) It took me about a year to prepare for this swim last year. Here’s the training plan I used, and my blog about what it took to get ready:
    http://manhattanmermaid.wordpress.com/2009/10/09/taking-the-plunge/

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