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Bridging The Cayman Islands

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Penny Palfrey setting a world record in the Cayman Islands - Image by Spike
World champions Valerio Cleri, Alex Meyer, Petar Stoychev at the 2010 World Championships - Image by Spike
Penny Palfrey setting a world record in the Cayman Islands - Image by Spike

Bridging The Cayman Islands was two combined channel swims: a shorter one between Cayman Brac and Little Cayman and a longer one between Little Cayman Island and Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, located south of Cuba. The longer channel swim was an ambitious, daring, courageous 67.26-mile (108 km) swim that took Penny Palfrey 40 hours 41 minutes in 2010.

Videos[edit]



Swimmer[edit]

Palfrey is a mother of three and a grandmother of one from Townsville, Queensland, Australia. She is an inductee in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, originally from England with dual citizenship of Australia.

Formerly a world-class pool swimmer, Palfrey set records in the Strait of Gibraltar, Molokai Channel and Santa Barbara Channel as well as completed swims in the Cook Strait, English Channel, Catalina Channel and various other swims from Lake Taupo in Australia to the Cayman Brac Channel in the Caribbean Sea.

The Bridging The Cayman Islands was estimated to take Penny between 30 - 40 hours of non-stop swimming in seas where she will encounter waves, winds, currents and marine life. The swim is organized and sponsored by Frank Flowers of the C.L. Flowers Group in the Cayman Islands.

The Bridging The Cayman Islands was originally unimaginable, certainly unpredictable, and remains unprecedented.

She swam non-stop 67.26 miles or 4,840 laps of a 25-yard pool. She started from Little Cayman Island in the early morning hours of June 9th and finished on shore on Grand Cayman over 40 hours later.

She had an 65-foot mothership with medical staff, media and support crew. She was escorted by a second 65-foot boat from Red Sail and a smaller rubber boat. Her husband Chris Palfrey was on the 65-foot escort boat with a crew of seasoned support watermen from New York to Hawaii. Penny was always sandwiched between the escort boats and her kayakers that included Jeff Kozlovich of Hawaii and Richard Clifford of New York who constantly guided, fed and hydrated her. The entire 40-hour adventure remained a focused and intense as she encountered textured conditions, sharks, jellyfish, currents, hyperthermia, extreme macerated skin, internal swelling, external inflammation, extreme sunburn, and fatigued muscles.

Sponsors[edit]

  • Cayman Airways
  • Sunshine Suites Resort Grand Cayman
  • Cayman Islands
  • Ministry of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports & Culture
  • Red Sail Sports
  • ESSO
  • Flowers Group
  • Caymanian Compass
  • Digicel
  • RCIPS
  • Radio Cayman Cayman Islands
  • Breeze fm 105.3 Cayman Islands

Penny Palfrey Marathon Swimming Career Highlights[edit]

  • Rottnest Channel in 2000 in 4:46 at the age of 37
  • Rottnest Channel in 2001 in 4:36 at the age of 38
  • Rottnest Channel in 2003 in 6:42 at the age of 40
  • Rottnest Channel in 2004 in 5:12 at the age of 41
  • Rottnest Channel in 2005 in 4:40 at the age of 42
  • Rottnest Channel in 2006 in 5:52 at the age of 43
  • English Channel (England-France) in 2006 in 9:16 at the age of 44
  • Cook Strait (South Island-North Island) in 2006 in 8:26 at the age of 43
  • Strait of Gibraltar (Spain–Morocco) in 2006 in 4:32 at the age of 43
  • Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 2007 in 8:36 at the age of 44
  • English Channel (England-France) in 2007 in 9:07 at the age of 45
  • Freo to Rotto Big Splash in 2007 in 4:40 at the age of 44
  • Rottnest Channel in 2008 in 5:24 at the age of 45
  • Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 2008 in 7:35 at the age of 45
  • Santa Barbara Channel (San Miguel-Mainland) in 2008, 45K in 11:29 at the age of 46
  • Tampa Bay Marathon Swim in 2008 in 7:51 at the age of 45
  • Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 2009 in 7:17 at the age of 46
  • Maui Channel (Maui-Lanai) in 2009 in 4:31 at the age of 46
  • Hawaii's Alenuihaha Channel (Hawaii-Maui) in 2009, 75K in 14:51 at the age of 46
  • Santa Barbara Channel (Santa Barbara-Mainland) in 2009, 64K in 17:53 at the age of 47
  • Strait of Gibraltar (Spain–Morocco-Spain) in 2010 in 8:27 (3:03 + 5:24) at the age of 47
  • Rottnest Channel Swim in 2010 in 5:41 at the age of 47
  • Catalina Channel (Catalina–Mainland) in 2010 in 10:36 and 13.5°C (56°F) at the age of 48
  • Hawaii's Kaieiewaho Channel (Oahu-Kauai) in March, 2010 (halted due to Portuguese Man o' War)
  • Hawaii's Kaieiewaho Channel (Oahu-Kauai) in November, 2010 (halted due to Portuguese Man o' War)

External links[edit]