Lori King Swims Around Bermuda in Just Over 21 Hours

June 17, 2016- Lori King, an open water marathon swimmer and member of CIBBOWS, completed a 36.5 mile swim around Bermuda in 21:19:45. She began the swim at 12:00pm local time on June 15th at Elbow Beach, and completed it on June 16th 9:19:45am at Elbow Beach.

Lori is the second solo swimmer to complete this feat (Sean O’Connell was the first in 1976 at 43hr 27min. His swim was a mile longer, at 37.5 miles.), and there was one relay group that completed the swim staged over two days. The swim was set up as a 50-person relay, ten years ago, marking the 30th anniversary of Sean O’Connell’s circumnavigation swim. Lori’s time is the fastest of all three completions.

Due to the weather conditions hitting the Island on Thursday and Friday, her original start and swim days, the swim had to be moved up almost 24 hours to Wednesday. At the start of the swim, the wind was at Lori’s back, but as she rounded the northeast tip of Fort St. Catherine’s and continued on to Pompano (a 16 mile stretch), she had to contend with two-three foot waves and strong headwinds.

Lori kept strong and consistent in her stroke-rate and fought through the swells and the 12-14 knot winds all along the stretch of the north shore in order to complete the epic swim. Lori fought hard to make it through these conditions thanks to her training, which included completing the 2015 seven-day, 120 mile 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim, amongst endless hours of pool and open water training.

Ms. King had this to say after her swim, “This was a team effort. This was not my swim…I cannot own it. This would not have happened without the role that each of my incredible crew played. I owe this feat and share this incredible milestone in my career with all of them.”

Lori’s crew consisted of mainly Bermudians, headed by local and well-known open-water swimmer, Nick Strong, who coordinated the event with the help of Mike Cash, and acted as an observer on the boat. Her captain, Jim Butterfield, supplied two boats to help Lori circumnavigate the island with the help of captain Brion Estis. Ilya Cherapau was an observer on the boat, and Russell Demoura and Alex Hammond kayaked for Lori at different stages of her swim. Roseli Johnson gave her time and expertise to photograph the event. In addition to those physically involved, Lori sought advice from many accomplished open water marathon swimmers, including Devon Clifford, who was in Bermuda with Lori as her main support.

Devon Clifford, an experienced open water swimmer and finisher of the SCAR Stage Swim, made the journey to Bermuda from New York with Lori, and due to the earlier start time, ended up acting as Lori’s coach, feeder, pace swimmer, and motivational supporter. She was essential in Lori’s completion, and “I simply could not have done this without her,” said Ms. King.

Bonnie Schwartz, a renowned coach and open water swimmer coached Lori up until the event, but was unable to make the trip to Bermuda in time to see Lori complete her task. However, she stayed in close contact with Devon throughout the swim and gave instrumental advice and constant motivation to Lori.

Mike Cash, a Bermudian and friend of Lori’s for over five years, had this to say, “The Bermudian support personnel were all shocked at the fact that Lori was able to complete the swim. From Ft St Catherine’s to Daniel’s Head, she was swimming into headwinds which were causing 2-foot plus waves. We had a hard time simply controlling boat direction, let alone making forward progress. There were a lot of very emotional people when she finished. I think there were a fair number of us who saw North Shore and couldn’t even imagine the ability to survive that.”

Lori King was born in Pennsylvania where she grew up swimming competitively since age five. In college she swam for La Salle University from 1993 – 1997. As a 200 breaststroker in college, long distance swimming was not in the forefront of her mind. After college she took off a few years before returning to swimming in 2004. In 2006 her interest in open water swimming evolved and she competed in her first open water event in 2010. Since then she has competed in several open water marathon events. While trying to juggle family life and swimming, she is slowly building her open water career, one swim at a time.

Lisa King submitted this report. 

10 Comments

10 comments

  1. avatar
    Malachi Cunningham

    Great job!

    • avatar
      Lori king

      Thanks Mal! You always believed in me. Thank you for coaching me during those college years.

  2. avatar
    tom mcgann

    lori rules

  3. avatar
    karin Immerman

    Lori you are amazing and a I am in awe of your strength and focus.love and kisses K

  4. avatar
    Michelle Bruno

    Your truly amazing and an inspiration to all!! Love you Lori!!

  5. avatar
    Anna Marie Baiocchi

    You are a mermaid! Congratulations to you & your team. Love Aunt Anna Marie

  6. avatar
    oleg chebotarev

    Fenomenal swim. Great job by support team. HI Mike and Ilya. Will see you in october for Round The Sound Swim

  7. avatar
    Madeleine Weinberg

    You an amazing swimmer and special person. You inspire me everyday to do my swim workout. Thank you ! Madeleine

Author: Cathleen Pruden

avatar
Cathleen Pruden is a 2016 graduate of Mount Holyoke College and was a four time All-American and a three time Academic All-American for the Lyons. She grew up swimming in and has also coached in Raleigh, North Carolina. Currently she is the Assistant Coach at Bowdoin College.

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