Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Jen Schumacher - Swimmer supporting RISE ABOVE PLASTICS

The Surfrider Chapter of South Orange County has gotten distance swimming star, Jen Schumacher to join Surfrider's RISE ABOVE PLASTICS campaign. After swimming though trash for many years - most of it plastic - Schumacher reached out to Surfrider to ask for assistance in raising awareness against the plastic trash plaguing our oceans. The S.O.C. chapter responded and last Sat. she swam around the Island of Manhattan to draw attention to our joint cause.

Jen Schumacher, a 24 year-old Cal State Fullerton graduate student competed as a solo swimmer in the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, a current-assisted 28.5-mile race in New York with the goal to raise money and awareness for the “Rise Above Plastics” campaign of the Surfrider Foundation.

Last Saturday, June 12th, she started at approximately 7:25 a.m with an expected completion time between 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. depending on conditions. A minimum of 8.5 hours in the water! She finished 4th!

She started and finished at South Cove, in Battery Park on the Hudson River. Swimmers navigated around the Battery then headed north up the East River, and swam counter-clockwise around Manhattan Island. They then swam north into the Harlem River, through Spuyten Duyvil, and then south down the Hudson River to the Battery.

Schumacher is a long time NOVA swimmer, and former coach who is currently working on her Masters degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis on Sport Psychology at California State University Fullerton. Schumacher swims and trains off the beaches of Orange County, California (see http://jenschumacher.com for details and GPS map). On August 14th, 2009, Schumacher became the 165th person to swim across the Catalina Channel, a 21-mile stretch between Doctor’s Cove on Catalina Island and Palos Verdes Peninsula, in a time of 9:02:48. Because she is passionate about protecting beaches and oceans, Schumacher will give a portion of each donation to the South OC Surfrider Foundation http://www.surfrider.org/southorangecounty/ to support the “Rise Above Plastics” campaign.

R.A.P. - The program seeks to reduce the amount of plastics making their way into our beach and marine environments though education and outreach efforts.

In California our RAP campaign is focused on passing monumental legislation, AB 1998, which bans single use plastic bags from grocery, convenience, pharmacies and liquor stores in 2012. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will sign the bill into law if passed by the Senate this summer, setting the tone nationwide to rid this costly blight from our oceans and waterways.

Visit the program’s website, www.riseaboveplastics.org, to learn about how plastics impact our marine and coastal environments, as well as find information on how to take steps to reduce plastic “footprint.”

The Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (MIMS) is a counter-clockwise circumnavigation of the island of Manhattan, a 28.5-mile current-assisted race put on by NYC Swim. This international event attracts a large applicant pool, yet only 25 solo swimmers are accepted to race in this prestigious competition along with several 2, 4 and 6-person relay teams.

MIMS is a fundraiser specifically to help underprivileged children in the New York area get into swimming and to raise awareness about the need to clean up the waters of New York, and for the charity of each participant's choice.

MIMS is challenging in many unique ways. The majority of the swim is with the favor of the tide, however at several key points swimmers will be against the current at and must race to beat the tide. Swimmers face murky and at times smelly water and may run into random flotsam and jetsam. Because of this, swimmers are encouraged to have current tetanus and hepatitis vaccinations.

My uncle James Bayles also participated in the race. He is in his 50's and has a daughter who has suffered from Epilepsy for her entire life. He raised money for the Epilepsy Foundation of Conn. An email update from my uncle after the race said that is heart rate after he got out of the water was 100 bpm. He knows that he has had a "good race" - he has also done the Catalina swim - if when he gets out of the water, he is not out of breath. After an 8 to 9 hour swim, how many people in the world can say that? Probably most of the elite 25 who had the privilege to race last Sat.

Thank you to my uncle and to Jen Schumacher for standing up for what they believe in by competing in an extraordinary, and difficult sport.


  1. Terrific accomplishment and nice story. Congratulations Jen and James on their impressive swims!

  2. They are impressive in many ways :D Thanks for commenting