Tammy van Wisse Marathon Swimmer Breaks world Record

by Mnet on Sun 23 Jul 2006 02:48 AM AKDT  | 


Marathon Swimmer Smashes World Record For 22 Mile Swim From NYC To Sandy Hook; Australian Swimmer Honors Women Sports Pioneer Gertrude Ederle


Tammy van Wisse, an Australian marathon swimmer, sets a world record for a 22-mile swim from New York City to Sandy Hook, N.J., in honor of her childhood hero Gertrude Ederle. (Photo: Business Wire)

Tammy van Wisse, Australian marathon swimmer, runs toward the finish line as 8- to 12-year-old swimmers from the Middletown Swim Team watch. (Photo: Business Wire)

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 22, 2006--Tammy van Wisse, renown Australian marathon swimmer and holder of 11 Australian and world records, added another world record to her resume Friday when she smashed the 81-year old record held by legendary female athlete Gertrude Ederle. Van Wisse's new record of 5 hours, 6 minutes and 48 seconds from Battery Park, NYC to Sandy Hook, N.J. eclipsed Ederle's record, which was set June 15, 1925, by 2 hours and 5 minutes. One of the reasons van Wisse selected this particular swim was because Gertrude Ederle was her childhood inspiration and hero.

"Although I have swum more than one and a half times around the world, these 22 miles have been some of the most meaningful," said van Wisse. "Meeting the Ederle family and getting to know them helped me to swim with the spirit of Gertrude. She was a pioneer for women, a barrier-breaker for all athletes and a timeless inspiration."

Van Wisse retraced a course that Ederle swam 81-years ago as part of her training to cross the English Channel. This particular swim to Sandy Hook stands apart because it combines speed and endurance, requiring swimmers to maintain a fast pace over a long period of time in order to take advantage of favorable currents and tide conditions.

Van Wisse launched from Battery Park's Gangway 1 at 7:21 a.m. Friday, and within 2 hours and 20 minutes, passed Coney Island and entered the Atlantic Ocean. Her swift pace of 3.2 mph triggered the crew's anticipation at the halfway point that van Wisse could possibly break Ederle's longstanding record.

The marathon swim took van Wisse past the Statue of Liberty, Governor's Island, Red Hook Brooklyn, the Verrazano Bridge and beyond Coney Island. From there, she entered the open Atlantic Ocean for the final push toward Sandy Hook, where the lighthouse stood as a guiding beacon. Several hundred beachgoers cheered as she finished the grueling swim.

Van Wisse's objective for swimming to Sandy Hook was to honor the American swimming icon and legend. She hopes a new generation of women and girls will remember Ederle's legacy of courage and determination and continue to advance women's involvement in athletics.

In her landmark 35-mile swim, Ederle not only crossed the English Channel -- which only five men had done -- but she smashed the standing world record by two hours. She silenced all skeptics who declared female athletes were inferior to their male counterparts.

"This swim is significant to me for several reasons," said van Wisse. "Gertrude Ederle was a woman I admired for her 'never say die' attitude and amazing perseverance. Her swims meant more than just records. She advanced the acceptance of women in sports, and she did it at a time when women were discouraged from participating."

"People said women couldn't swim the Channel, but I proved they could," Ederle said at the time.

Citing Ederle as their inspiration, more than 60,000 women earned American Red Cross swimming certificates during the 1920s. Similarly, while van Wisse loves the challenge of breaking a world record, her goal was to inspire and motivate girls to tap their inner strength.

The swim was sponsored by Melaleuca: The Wellness Company, which manufactures The Access Bar, a patented fat conversion bar that helps the body use stored fat as a natural source of energy. Ever since tackling the English Channel more than 10 years ago, van Wisse has taken The Access Bar as part of her training and nutrition regiment.






Tammy van Wisse

Date of Birth: 

23rd July 1968


Melbourne, Australia


Marathon Swimmer

Keynote Motivational Speaker

Proprietor of Paul Sadler Swimland, Narre Warren & Hampton Park

Tammy started her formal swimming training at age 11.

She progressed through her teens winning Victorian State Swimming and Victorian Royal Life Saving Titles.

She won the Lorne Pier to Pub swim, in 1986, 1987 and 1989.

Her first marathon swim was in 1986 from Beaumaris to Frankston, a distance of twenty kilometres.

In 1996, she became the first person to swim the treacherous Bass Strait.

Tammy also established record times and wins for swimming Loch Ness, New Zealand’s Cook Strait, the English Channel, Olympic Games Centenary Marathon swim in Greece and Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in New York.

She was the first person to swim the Gippsland Lakes, and , in 2006, broke the longest standing world record in marathon swimming, from Battery Park (NY) to Sandy Hook (NJ), by over 2 hours.

Tammy credits much of her success to Olympic swimming legend Dawn Fraser, who has overseen and encouraged Tammy during many of her marathon swims.

On 18 February 2001, Tammy completed her greatest challenge to date by swimming the entire length of the Murray River from the alps to the ocean – a feat no one else in the world has achieved. Starting from Corryong in Victoria’s high country, it took Tammy 106 days to reach the Murray Mouth in South Australia, a distance of 2438 kilometres.

As a human water quality tester, Tammy has campaigned for cleaner waterways. Whilst working in her watery office, the Murray River, Tammy tried to raise awareness about environmental issues confronting the river such as poor environmental flows, salinity and toxic algal bloom.

Hypothermia, vomiting, swollen tongue - just a day in the life of a marathon swimmer. "You need to be a touch crazy," says Tammy.

But evidently an advantage according to her personal catch phrase:

"blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light"



  • World record (fastest person) to swim 22 miles from Battery Park, New York to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, 21st July 2006 (5hrs 06mins). She broke the longest standing record in the marathon swimming history books set by Gertrude Ederle in 1925 by over 2 hours.
  • World record (first/fastest person) to swim Gippsland Lakes, Bairnsdale to Lakes Entrance, June 2004 (9hrs 57mins).
  • World Record (fastest person) across Cook Strait, (Nth to Sth), New Zealand. March 1999 (6hrs 49mins)
  • World Record(fastest person) to swim length of Loch Ness, Scotland. August 1999 (9hrs 6mins)
  • World Record (fastest person) to swim 2438km length of the Murray River, Australia. 5 November 2000 - 18 February 2001 (106 days)
  • World Record (fastest person) to swim Bass Strait, Tasmania to Victoria, Australia. February 1996. (17hrs 46 mins - 97.4kms)
  • Winner of Manhattan Island 48km Marathon Swim, New York. 1997 (7hrs 13mins)
  • Winner of Olympic Games Centenary Marathon Swim, Greece. 1996 (7hrs 13mins)
  • Winner of inaugural Melbourne 30km Big Swim, Australia. 1998 (7hrs 18mins)
  • Fastest person across the English Channel in 1993, UK. (8hrs 38mins)
  • First ever brother/sister combination to cross English Channel together, UK. 1994 (John van Wisse - 8hrs 17mins & Tammy van Wisse - 8hrs 32mins)
  • Australian Record for the fastest person to swim 50 laps (40kms) of Bondi Beach, Australia. 1998 (9hrs 7mins)
  • Represented Australia in over 16 international marathon swims
  • Winner of 17 Victorian Royal Lifesaving Ironwoman Titles (without a hint of rust!)
  • As part of Tammy's objectives to promote Port Phillip Bay, Victoria as an environmentally friendly recreational asset she has also swum:
    • Across Port Phillip Bay, Portarlington to Frankston, 1993 (40kms)
    • Length of Port Phillip Bay, Rosebud to Sth Melbourne, 1994 (58.5kms)
    • Circumference of Port Phillip Bay, Portsea to Sorrento, 1995 (144kms)



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