June 20, 2011
NEW YORK -- 2004 Northwestern graduate Erica Rose won the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim Saturday, finishing the 28.5-mile course around Manhattan in 7 hours, 29 minutes, 46 seconds. The race is a counter-clockwise circumnavigation of the island beginning and ending at South Cove in Battery Park City.
Rose defeated three-time champion of the race, John van Wisse of Australia, who came in second with a 7:33.50. The 2011 field included more than 40 solo swimmers and relay teams, the strongest and largest field in 20 years, with swimmers from the U.S., Australia, England, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Portugal and Ireland. Open water swimming regularly features both men and women in the same field, and Rose defeated several accomplished marathon men in her victory.
As the top two finishers, both Rose and van Wisse earned the right to return Sept. 28 for a match race on a fast tide to attempt to break the record around the island set by Shelley Taylor Smith at 5:45 in 1995.
Rose graduated in 2004 as a Big Ten finalist and NCAA qualifier for Northwestern before returning to her roots as an open water swimmer. Already a 5K World Champion in 1998, Rose went on to win 10 national titles and was voted USA Open Water Swimmer of the Year four times during her career. She competed in the Grand Prix and World Cup series of races, finishing as high as third in the world rankings during the 2007 season.
Rose's triumph around Manhattan was not the longest swim of her career in terms of distance; she twice competed along an 88 kilometer course (about 55 miles) down the Parana River in Argentina during the Hernandarias-Parana FINA Grand Prix race, finishing third in 2007. She is largely retired from full-time competitive racing, though she still swims regularly in preparation for occasional open water competitions and challenges.
Northwestern has a strong recent tradition in open water swimming. Following in the footsteps of Rose in the past year have been senior Kate Stephensen (Davis, Calif./Davis Senior High), who took 16th at the 2011 USA Swimming Open Water 5K National Championships on June 12, 2011, and rising junior Charlie Rimkus (Tustin, Calif./Beckman), who won the 20th Anniversary U.S. Masters Swimming Big Shoulders Open Water Swim Classic 5K at Ohio Street Beach in Chicago during the summer of 2010.
Information from the Associated Press, EricaRoseSwimming.com and NYC Swim was used in this release
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