Gove takes watery route 'round Manhattan

June 29, 2006|by ANDREW MASON

Two weeks ago, I wrote a column about how Warren Gove of Middletown, Md., was set to compete for the first time in the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in New York.

The 51-year-old Gove, who trains at the Hagerstown YMCA, seemed confident about his fitness, but a tad bit nervous about the challenge - 28 1/2 miles of nonstop swimming without a wetsuit in 65-degree water with a time limit of only 9 1/2 hours. He had never swum farther than 4.4 miles at one time.

Now, there's a Part 2 to the story.

Gove did it.

He was one of 20 solo swimmers to officially complete the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in the pouring rain Saturday. He finished eighth overall and first among 50-and-older competitors in 8 hours, 10 minutes, 42 seconds.

"It was a long day," Gove said. "It still hasn't sunk in yet, to be honest with you."


The waters could say the same thing about Gove: We still haven't sunk him yet.

"The water temperature was my biggest concern," Gove said. "It's very hard to acclimate. It was cold, but once I made it through the first hour, I was OK."

He said the first 14 miles were a breeze, swimming with the current.

"First half, I felt just wonderful," he said. "But coming out at the top of the Harlem River, going into the Hudson, it got really choppy. And I was getting nervous.

"It just turned lousy, and I didn't know if I was going to be able to do it."

He credited friends Paul Brabson of Boonsboro and George Rohrer of Mercersburg, Pa. - who rode on his support boat - for helping him to persevere.

"They went through hell," Gove said. "They were shivering and having a worse time of it than I was."

Gove finished with a new perspective - even of New York.

"Seeing Yankee Stadium, the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building from the water was pretty neat," he said. "And swimming under the George Washington Bridge, that was pretty neat, too."

After enjoying a few days of rest and relaxation, Gove planned to resume his workout regimen this morning at the Y.

Saturday's 28 1/2-mile swim left him with no ill effects.

"I stubbed my toe getting out of the water," he said. "That's about it."

Andy Mason is assistant sports editor of The Morning Herald. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at

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