Brighton Beach closed on Sunday 9/4, beaches will remain open through September 11

Posted Fri, Sep 2nd 2016, 16:27 by Patricia Sener

Jetty Drills members clinic will be cancelled on Sunday due to the beach closures.  The mayor's office is considering closing on Monday and Tuesday as well, so be sure to check before heading out to the water.  Lifeguards will be on the beach preventing patrons from entering the water, which is not their idea of fun, so please try to respect they have a job to do.

For the latest info on beach closures go to the website

2017 Membership is Now Open

Posted Tue, Jan 19th 2016, 14:59

CIBBOWS Membership for 2017 is now open. Join now and save $10 (price goes up on March 15).

Gathering to honor Eileen Burke this Sunday at Brighton Beach

Posted Mon, Oct 19th 2015, 16:30 by

We will be gathering this Sunday October 25th at 11am to honor Eileen Burke and spread her ashes in the ocean at Brighton Beach, at Grimaldo's Chair. 

Eileen devoted her time, skills and energy to help build the CIBBOWS community. We would like to honor her gracious, loving soul's passing to the next realm by gathering together the community she supported and loved.
All are welcome to come out, share a story, have a paddle or swim, and celebrate her life and her beautiful spirit.

The loss of Eileen Burke

Posted Tue, Oct 13th 2015, 13:57 by Patricia Sener

As many of you now know, our beloved friend Eileen Burke passed away a week ago Saturday after a long and brave battle with pancreatic cancer.
Eileen was a loving wife and mother, a dear friend to many, a devoted teacher, and a swimmer second to none. Those of us blessed to have known her were, and remain, touched in myriad ways by her warmth and intellect, her charm and devotion, her compassion, and her sense of daring do.
Eileen was at the very heart of CIBBOWS and embodied everything good about it. She was a trusted board member and capable leader who put everyone at ease with her calm, steady presence. She was also a skilled and fearless athlete. No stranger to epic swims, Eileen pushed the boundaries of excellence in the sport by crossing forbidding bodies of water such as Cap Cod, and attempting the English Channel under conditions frigid enough to dissuade most other swimmers from even trying. Despite her formidable skills and accomplishments, she never once abandoned the humble persona that was her hallmark.
Eileen was in this world far too briefly. Yet, she lived her years richly, and left behind a constellation of loved ones, friends and admirers who – from this day onward – will make gestures big and small to properly honor this gentle and gifted soul, and her life that lifted so many others.
As part of that constellation, we in the CIBBOWS community will soon begin making such gestures, and I will of course announce plans once they are made.
For now, I wish all of you peace, good health, and continued joy through our beloved sport.
Services for Eileen Burke will be at St. Ignatius of Loyola church at the corner of Park Ave. and 84th Street this Wednesday October 14th at 5:00 p.m.
Scattering of her ashes at Brighton Beach, so she will always be with us, is being planned for a fall weekend when Mo returns. Share a story about our lovely mermaid, swim in the ocean with the community she loved and dedicated her energies toward--all are welcome.
Love to you all,

Epic 24 mile swim by CIBBOWS BOD member Alan Morrison

Posted Wed, Sep 30th 2015, 08:55 by Patricia Sener

CIBBOWS board member Alan Morrison swam 24 miles from Brooklyn Bridge to Coney Island Pier and back while raising awareness for the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture. Dodging multiple tankers, angry cargo ships. and at least 5 cruise ships (including the QE2) he held fast and complete his swim as the blood moon rose over the city spread before us.  All the while he was still able to smile and crack jokes--what an inspiration to us all!  

Go Alan!


Photo: Patricia Sener

CIBBOWS very own Yuta Tsuboi becomes first Japanese man to complete the Triple Crown

Posted Wed, Sep 9th 2015, 09:04 by

Congratulations from all of us at CIBBOWS!!!  


Here is a write-up by friend and crew Kenn Lichtenwalter:

To recap Yuta's English Channel you need to go back 6+ years ago when the idea of doing such a thing first entered his mind. Since that point he's bought books, researched open water swimming online, followed some of the best long distance swimmers from around the world, all to absorb what it would take to complete the English Channel. 

The reason this needs to be brought up is the single focused desire Yuta has had to complete this endeavor. It's led to participating in other long distance events, arrange his own open water training, do winter swimming, gain 20+ pounds, swim 10,000+ pool yards time and time again, prepare what to feed and how to feed to the nth degree.  All to finish!

He arrived in Dover almost a week early to begin acclimating to the time change and the colder water temps in the low 60s. He sought out his pilot to further plan and prepare.  He ate most all of his meals with carbs in mind. Phyllis and I as his crew joined him shortly before his earliest possible opportunity. 

For scheduling an EC crossing it pretty much takes signing up 2+ years in advance. In doing so this allowed for him to be number one in his tide and to select the most advantageous date that was still available. Nevertheless all swimmers are at the mercy of Mother Nature no matter what day, month or order of the tide one may be in. His first possible date to swim was Saturday September 5th. In spite by all appearances the weather looking fine in Dover it can be a totally different story in the Channel as well as close to France. To even consider beginning the swim, winds need to be under a moderate amount of knots. This turned out to be the case for his first two possible days as there were high winds for both Saturdayand Sunday which we only ever know whether it is a go or no go the night before. 

It was Sunday and there were murmurs that Monday could be doable and very possibly the only day the entire upcoming week. Yuta finally got the confirmation Sunday eveningfor a 5:30 AM start on Monday.  Yuta had already brought most of supplies and purchased whatever else he needed in Dover.   Consequently he was ready on short notice for any available time slot. 

Monday the alarms went off early at 3:30 to heat the water for his warm feeds and be ready in time to meet the boat at 4:30. When we arrived we learned that likely all 12 of the official boats were going out given this small ideal window. The start is just a short boat ride to Shakespeare Beach under the White Cliffs of Dover.  Air temp was in the high 40s, skies were clear but still under an hour before sunrise. Yuta jumped in to swim to shore where the water temp was 62. 

He officially got underway at 5:38. His goal for crossing was to finish in 14 hours. There were slight winds when he started and coming from the west which given he was swimming to the east would be in his favor. The plan was sticking to a detailed feed schedule that included Hammer Sustained Energy, Carbo Pro, diluted Listerine, flat Coke, Kind bars and Metasalt tablets. Yuta was to be fed every 30 minutes with specific dosages of any of the items above at various times. As it played out he pretty much relied on only the warm Sustained Energy. 

His stroke count started in the low 60's. The conditions of the water was minimal chop at first. Yuta kept to a steady pace and really minimized the time on his feeds to mostly under 30 seconds.  By the time we arrived in the English shipping lane at approximately 3 hours into the swim, the pilot indicated Yuta was on a great pace of likely finishing in 12 hours. Even still the conditions can change quickly and are often unpredictable. As we got further along the swells and chop increased.  We were told this was as a result of the conditions in the North Sea where the weather had begun to turn for the worse and pushing the waves down to the Channel which is further compounded as being a bottleneck until reaching the Atlantic. 

Yuta as a result had to contend with this increased wave activity for practically all of the swim. Secondarily the turbulence also made for big challenges in stationing on the deck of the boat while keeping an eye on Yuta, providing his feeds and preparing additional provisions. My sense for those on the deck we all came away with bruises.  Thru all of this Yuta steadily maintained a stroke count from 58-64. 

Yuta had said that he didn't want to know how far he had gone or had left, he even for the first time I ever recall didn't wear a watch to track his own time. 

Alarmingly early in the swim he mentioned some left shoulder pain, but he adjusted his stroke to alleviate it. Even with this his stroke count never wavered. We later learned he did not once look back. The White Cliffs are visible for several miles into the swim which can be discouraging leading to an impression of not making progress. 

At 6 hours into the swim Yuta entered French waters encountering France's shipping lane going in the opposite direction, south to north. The same impact of not looking back can be the same looking forward. Land can be seen but gives false hope of how close you are. Additionally the tide could change for a third time making getting to the finish even tougher. Nevertheless Yuta kept his head down not looking back or forward only to the boat on his right guiding him across.

The challenge is figuring how to optimize Yuta finishing at Cap Gris Nez, the shortest possible point to France, with the current pushing him strong to the south. If he misses the Cap then he'll need to tack back in order to touch land. The pilot is trying to project his pace, the currents and upcoming tide change to get to the optimal landing point. If he is too far out when the tide changes he may end up adding more hours to the swim or not be able to finish at all which we learned later occurred to a swimmer encountering the latter.  Yuta at the pace he was maintaining was likely to beat the tide change and it would be just a matter of reaching a pile of reasonably safe rocks that he could finish onto. 

We had reached a point where he was so close it was just a matter of time and deciphering where he could clear out of water to officially be standing on French soil. Since the boat was not able to take him right to the shore I ended up joining for the last 15 minutes to ensure his safety.  It also allowed me up close to see him get onto shore by swimming onto and climbing further up a boulder. He handled it quite smoothly though after standing there was a little unsure that was deemed an official landing and whether he needed to get further inland.  The official observer and pilot all declared it was! The only pitfall was he had no French pebbles to collect as souvenirs only massive rocks were in the vicinity. The reality is there are very few "beaches" to truly land on in this area. His landing was not quite the tip but just south of it.  Though he did not swim the shortest possible distance he started on England soil and stood on France's and that my friends is swimming and finishing the English Channel!

Yuta's swim was not quite done he still needed to swim back to the boat first though he caught up with me standing on my own rock underwater.  I gave him a high five, embraced him and yelled "great job you finished in under bleep bleep 11 hours!!!". He was surprised. When he did get back on the boat Yuta was overcome with emotion for having finally accomplished a goal he had been striving for and focused on so many years. While his fast time could be attributed to the favorable winds pushing him east it was also as much as how disciplined he was with his feeds and never wavering from his high stroke rate. Simply a man on a 6+ year mission!

With his unofficial time of 10:42 which won't get ratified by the association until later this fall he became the 119th person and the first Japanese man to complete the Triple Crown (Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, Catalina and the English Channel). 

A testament to the will, dedication of accomplishing one of the grandest open water feats swimming the English Channel. Awesome job Yuta!


CIBBOWS partners with Clean Ocean Action and ED completes unprecedented crossing of the NY BIGHT

Posted Mon, Jul 27th 2015, 16:30 by Patricia Sener

A Historic Swim by a Remarkable Woman

On July 22, 2015, Patricia Sener, Executive Director of Coney Island Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers, set out to make history to help protect the ocean.  After 11 hours, 8 minutes, and 35 seconds she had swum 17 miles and arrived on the beach in Long Island.  The epic, historic swim began at 11:03 AM as PatriPressSwimforCOZ2cia launched from Sandy Hook across the New York/New Jersey Bight to Atlantic Beach, Long Island – all for the COZ (Clean Ocean Zone). Patricia is the first swimmer to swim through this ecologically diverse and busy shipping region. During her swim, Patricia was visited by humpback whales and had stop to let huge ships pass. The swim was to raise awareness about the amazing NY NJ Bight and the need protect it through Clean Ocean Action’s Clean Ocean Zone Initiative. Congratulations to Patricia and her remarkable team for an awe-inspiring swim!



Swim for the COZ

Posted Mon, Jul 20th 2015, 23:47 by Patricia Sener

Did you know there are humpback whales very close to where you swim?  The NY Bight, our backyard ocean, has the largest density of marine mammals and sea turtles in the US--twenty-one species of whales, dolphin and porpoise that come into these waters, frolicking just over yonder. 

On July 22nd, our executive director Patricia Sener will be swimming 17 miles across the Western NY Bight to bring attention to the Clean Ocean Zone Initiative, which seeks to create the first-ever federally protected Clean Ocean Zone, or COZ. This COZ would be the nation's first-ever pollution-free ocean area where pollution sources such as raw sewage and oil/gas industries would be prohibited. 

CIBBOWS is partnering with Clean Ocean Action, the creator of this initiative, in order to bring attention to the importance of keeping our local ocean clean and wild. Funds raised through CIBBOWS will go to two charities—Clean Ocean Action and Gotham Whale, a non-profit that tracks the local humpback whale population. 

This swim will start in Sandy Hook, NJ--the headquarters of COA--then into the wild blue open ocean, no land in sight--and finish around Atlantic Beach, LI, near the site of a proposed liquified natural gas storage facility that threatens to bring pollution to our waterways.  

Please join CIBBOWS in supporting our local charities and consider making a donation for this event to help keep our backyard ocean wild, clean and swimmable.

Follow along on the adventure on Facebook this Wednesday for live updates.

See you at the beach!

Follow along our swimmers adventures on the 8 Bridges Blog

Posted Fri, Jun 5th 2015, 17:34 by Patricia Sener

The start of the 8 Bridges swim is only 48 hours away, and jet lagged after flying over to New York from the UK yesterday, I’ve been lying awake since the early hours thinking about what’s to come. To be honest, I haven’t given the swimming much thought over the last week, scurrying around at work tying up loose ends and writing lists and making piles on my bedroom floor of the kit and supplies I needed for my trip. But now, it’s all about the swimming.

There is a lot of uncertainty before a marathon swim: what will the conditions be like? Will I make it? Will my body hold up? Did I remember to pack my….? Seven consecutive stages of long swimming takes me well outside of my comfort zone, and I really have no concrete sense of what it will be like, or what I am capable of. But in the end, and whatever the outcome, it’s about the swimming. Whenever I start a long swim, I always tell myself: “All you have to do today is swim”. It is my way of remembering the privilege of being able to do something as lovely as swimming all day; of the opportunity to visit new places and see the world from water level. The luxury of marathon swimming lies in its lengthy slowness, and this is what I’m relishing most about the week to come.

And of course, this luxury is facilitated by the labour and support of others – volunteers, organisers, kayakers; all I have to do each day is swim because so many others are doing the work that makes it possible and safe. This too is a privilege which makes me extra determined to make the most of this week – to succeed where possible, but mostly to relish the challenge and the delicious absurdity of swimming 120 miles down a river.

Good luck to all of my fellow swimmers this week. Let the adventures begin.

Sun, surf, and (whale) songs

Posted Thu, May 7th 2015, 21:23 by Melissa Sions

As we move into the longer, languid days of summer, those of us more seasonal CIBBOWS members are coming out of hibernation too. With Memorial Day only a few short weeks away, some of us are getting a head start and making our way back out to our beloved spot out by Grimaldo's chair. What awaits us when we get there, other than the teasing greetings of our resident Polar Bears as we shiver in the 50 degree water?

Hopefully, soon, humpback whales! In 2014, over 100 whales were identified in the New York Bay—a twenty-fold increase since 2011 alone. Before now, the average New York City seafarer would have been hard-pressed to see one since all the way back to the seventeenth century, before the explosion of whaling nearly wiped them out completely. Now all you have to do is go out on a whale-watching boat off the Rockaways and wait.

(Source: Artie Raslich/Getty Images, via NY Mag)

Why the sudden resurgence? Certainly the global moratorium on commercial whaling has been a factor, but so have more local efforts to improve our city's marine habitat. A NYC Environmental Protection report from 2012 estimates that the water in New York City's waterways is cleaner than it has been in well over a decade. (Few New Yorkers know that better than open-water swimmers!) Not only that, but restrictions on over-fished species like menhaden—a tiny tasty fish that humpbacks love—have brought their populations back to healthy levels, enough that our aquatic friends are enticed to stop in for a gulp.

Who knows, maybe they'll make a cameo at the Breezy Point 5k!

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