Christie Plank Ciraulo
From OpenwaterpediaMighty Mermaids, a fantastically fit female group of open water swimmers who have set records and won competitions from coast to coast. They have finished fifth overall in the 2009 Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (7 hours 33 minutes), 24th overall and 2nd fastest female team at the 2008 Trans Tahoe Relay and made names for themselves in numerous individual open water swimming and pool swimming competitions. They also did a 9:19:44 crossing of the Catalina Channel in setting the record for an all-female over-50 relay team by over an hour and a half.
The Mighty Mermaids are a special team where age and competitiveness are their calling cards. The team consists of Christie Plank Ciraulo (55), Nancy Steadman Martin (54), Lisa Bennett (53), Jenny Cook (51), Karen Farnsworth Einsidler (53) and Tracy Grilli (52).
When Christie turned 50, she dreamed to organize a group of fast women in their 50's to swim together on a major open water swimming relay. Christie was looking for something more than just pool swimming. She introduced herself to Tracy and Nancy and kept in touch for over a year before the Trans Tahoe Relay became a possibility.
Jenny, Karen and Lisa were recruited and confirmed in short order. As Christie recalled, "Once our team was set, we were already picking out our team color, team suits and team nail polish.”
In their first collective foray, the Mighty Mermaids won their division at the 2008 Trans Tahoe Relay, finishing ahead of their nearest rival by 90 minutes, setting an unprecedented standard for their age-group. Their swim at the 2009 Manhattan Island Marathon Swim continues to showcase their ageless talents.
Christie (Los Angeles) has earned 144 spots on the US Masters Swimming Top Ten lists and numerous World Top Ten rankings. She won U.S. Masters Swimming national championships in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 2008 and 2009, in addition to winning the Waikiki Roughwater Swim and several ocean swims in Manhattan Beach, Seal Beach and Newport Beach in California in her age group.