200 swimmers will brave chill for Hudson River thrill

May 23, 2009 at 4:56 pm Leave a comment

When it comes to swimming in the Hudson River before Memorial Day, there are three things you should know: It’s cleaner and colder than you think – and the currents can be rough.

More than 200 participants will take the plunge in the 60-degree water this morning for the annual Great Hudson River Swim – the first of a dozen open-water New York swims this year.

“It’s colder than the Caribbean, but you’re not going to be in that long,” said swimmer Richard Clifford, 57, of New Rochelle.

The swim, in its fifth year, is a straight shot south. Swimmers hit the river at the Christopher Street Pier, then swim downtown to the North Cove Yacht Harbor in Battery Park City.

The 1.3-mile swim, sponsored by RCN Corp., offers competitors amazing views of the skyline to the east and the Statue of Liberty to the south.

Organizers say currents can be tricky, but the water may be cleaner than it was a century ago.

Some New Yorkers had trouble swallowing that. “It’s New York City – how clean can it be?” asked Syrie Moskowitz of Brooklyn.

A 32-year-old man died in a race in the Hudson last summer. Other swimmers thought he’d been stung by jellyfish, but the death was later attributed to heart disease.

By Lacie Hales and Larry Mcshane

Entry filed under: Get Wet, Manhattan, Public Waterfront. Tags: , , .

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