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250 miles out of 2,100 is close enough right?
February 11, 2009 11:04 AM   Subscribe

Jennifer Figge a 56 year old mother turned adventurer is the first woman to swim across the frigid Atlantic Ocean!. Or so they thought...
posted by Mastercheddaar (36 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm flying around the sun at 67,000 miles per hour, and boy are my arms tired!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:18 AM on February 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


That's some really shoddy fact-checking, but to be fair, the AP only picked it up and ran with it after Drudge broke out his flashing GIF "authentic story" sirens.
posted by Damn That Television at 11:21 AM on February 11, 2009


Yet, somehow, the AP ran the story even though a few seconds of thought and a pocket calculator was enough to disprove it.

Well now I've heard everything!
posted by DU at 11:23 AM on February 11, 2009


Also, a mother IS an adventurer (amirite)
posted by DU at 11:26 AM on February 11, 2009


Upon looking at the photo of her in the first link, I couldn't help but think "So that's what a swimming salami looks like."
posted by scarello at 11:34 AM on February 11, 2009


Swimming 8 hours a day and then getting onto a boat and resting, then repeating the next day doesn't seem to me to count as "swimming across the Atlantic" even if she had done it. I understand that it's a lot of swimming, but it just seems kind of like when people do speed-runs in video games by pausing the gamestate in a simulator, and doing each bit perfectly.

I know that mountain climbs aren't done all in a single go, but at least they have changing conditions, different steps to take, ever decreasing oxygen levels, etc. Swimming across the Atlantic for 8 hours a day seems no different than swimming in the Atlantic for 8 hours a day, while both are certainly a lot of swimming, it's just not the same as swimming across the English Channel in a single go, as far as accomplishments are concerned.

Swimming across the Atlantic as I define it is almost certainly an impossible task, but why should a task be redefined until it's possible? On the other hand, it is kind of tempting to run a mile a day for a month and claim that I ran a marathon and had enough energy to go another few miles...
posted by explosion at 11:38 AM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Heh, kinda reminds me of a mistake I made in the Army. I freaking *hated* running, so on a timed 2-mile run to pass the PT test one day running all the way around Barton Field in Georgia, I lagged toward the back at the start. At the first opportunity, I sled into a copse of trees, made a beeline for the street, and caught a taxi to the other side of the field, saving about a mile off the run. Then I lurked in some trees and waited until I saw the runners approaching, then jumped out in front and sprinted on home, pretending to pant heavily.

I was surprised to see a crowd of people at the finish line just roaring and cheering me on. Wasn't quite sure what that was all about. As it turns out, thanks to my taxi ride I'd inadvertently broken the world record for a 2-mile run, and boy was I BUSTED. Heh.
posted by jamstigator at 11:43 AM on February 11, 2009 [21 favorites]


Swimming across the Atlantic for 8 hours a day seems no different than swimming in the Atlantic for 8 hours a day, while both are certainly a lot of swimming, it's just not the same as swimming across the English Channel in a single go, as far as accomplishments are concerned.

What if she had one of those foam kick paddles?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:43 AM on February 11, 2009


I like the one comment on facebook: "swimming in a cage makes you more of a puss than a hero. I'm calling BS on this "swim across the atlantic in a shark proof cage""

Yeah, because you're not really swimming in the ocean if you're not fighting off sharks for at least a few hours a day.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:44 AM on February 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


Swimming 8 hours, then getting in a stationary boat to rest, then swimming again, thus traversing all 2500 miles while swimming is, while not quite the same as swimming across in one go, something that I might call swimming across the Atlantic. Similarly, if someone were to run across the US, stopping to rest in a hotel would likely be fine.

Swimming between 20 minutes and 8 hours a day, then resting on a moving boat while much of your progress is made, and thus swimming for only a tenth of the 2500 miles, may be nifty but doesn't really qualify as swimming across the Atlantic under most definitions.
posted by JiBB at 12:00 PM on February 11, 2009


I wish I could teach a single class (like teachers do in the movies) and still earn a monthly paycheck...the rest of the time I could surf the net and take naps. And if I felt like teaching 21 minutes one day because the kids were a little rowdy, hey, why the hell not?
posted by kozad at 12:06 PM on February 11, 2009


..something that I might call swimming across the Atlantic.

Can I swim in a land-locked pool for 3 hours every afternoon in the summer over the course of 5-10 years and call it swimming across the Atlantic? Because if so, where's my CNN front page?
posted by DU at 12:08 PM on February 11, 2009


I wish I could teach a single class (like teachers do in the movies) and still earn a monthly paycheck...

Dude, you should have seen some of the male teachers in my high school. They virtually all fell into teaching because they were extending their college deferments from the draft, but were too lazy to actually, you now, excel at a craft. By the time I got to them in the 80s, they were just going through the motions, doing the exact same routine, four hours a day, year after year (e.g. the study guide for "Julius Caesar" doesn't need to ever be updated). They took three months off in the summer and were looking forward to retirement in the mid-90s with a full pension after putting in their 20 years on the job.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:16 PM on February 11, 2009


I wonder if she knowingly put out a deceptive/incorrect story or if it's the associated press that screwed up by either not paying attention or sexing this story up. anyone know?
posted by krautland at 12:18 PM on February 11, 2009


I wonder if she knowingly put out a deceptive/incorrect story

Well, she posted a press release to her facebook page. Said press release contained such factoids as "swimming from 6 to 8 hours a day without rest" and "she will swim 2,100 miles". She did not correct any of this.

I'm pretty damn sure she knowingly misled people. Otherwise she would have corrected someone and clarified that no, she would not swim 6 to 8 hours everyday, and no, she would not swim 2100 miles, or even close to that, or even a fifth of that.
posted by splice at 12:32 PM on February 11, 2009


And now I read that she actually did not swim at all for 5 of the 25 days she was out.

What a sport. 6 to 8 hours a day without rest to swim 2,100 miles transforms into resting without swimming over 20% of the time she was out, and all that for 250 miles.
posted by splice at 12:38 PM on February 11, 2009


Meanwhile, Sting, Billy Idol, and Johnny Rotten have been spliced and cloned, and are now watching her kids.
posted by not_on_display at 12:57 PM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


As the Tribune article notes, Benoit Lecomte has done it, swimming 6-8 hours a day for 73 days. Say what you will about the "legitimacy" of claiming that as a swim across the Atlantic -- swimming 50 miles a day, day in and day out, in the Atlantic Ocean (and how much time have you spent offshore in the Atlantic ocean?) for over two months? That's Bad. Ass.
posted by rusty at 1:08 PM on February 11, 2009


slacker
posted by Muddler at 1:14 PM on February 11, 2009


None of the articles mention her assistant, who swam behind her with a shark fin on his back. That's how she managed to pull off such incredible speed.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 1:32 PM on February 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


If one more person lies to me about swimming across the ocean I swear I'm going to lose my shit.
posted by gordie at 1:33 PM on February 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


She saw a pod of pilot whales, several turtles, dozens of dolphins, plenty of Portuguese man-of-war — but no sharks.


Did the shark proof cage have anything to do with that?
posted by niles at 1:58 PM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


New Rule: as long as you enter the water at one side and exit at the other side it counts as swimming across, regardless of time spent out of the water & distance traveled by other means.

I'm updating my resume with my new list of personal accomplishments: I'd point out my complete lack of use of shark cages, but then I'd just be bragging.
posted by ShadowCrash at 2:04 PM on February 11, 2009


What is the point of the facebook link? All it says for me is "Could not find the note you requested / The note you requested has either been deleted, or does not exist." Did this previously result in a valid page or does one need a facebook account for this to display (which if the case such a link should NOT be in a fpp.)
posted by Rhomboid at 2:25 PM on February 11, 2009


Rhomboid: Looks like the note was deleted. I looked at it about 10 minutes ago, and now I get the same error as you.
posted by niles at 2:28 PM on February 11, 2009


So then, the chance to be the First Woman to Swim Across the Atlantic is still up for grabs, eh? Sweet. My sister is going to be psyched.
posted by yeti at 2:37 PM on February 11, 2009


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing wins my day for bringing back, like some sort of terrible memory stew, the childhood years and times I have known with foam kick-pads; the feeling that when one was in the water with me, all fun was about to not happen, the terrible shame of guiding my little yellow or bright blue floating companion was doing me no favors; the short-lived thrill of yanking one down to force it to pop up, unimpressively, barely out of the water, and not shooting into the air in defiance.
posted by jscott at 3:43 PM on February 11, 2009


She could say she set the record for most times falling overboard while crossing the Atlantic in a catamaran.
posted by digsrus at 6:10 PM on February 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ok. I think its amazing that a 56 year old woman swam IN the middle of the atlantic ocean. My mom and her sisters (who are about the same age) claim that they will need a wheelchair in a few months, so I think its amazing that she swam IN the middle of the ocean...for 8 hours at the longest.

NOW...WTF is about this "yeah, i swam across the atlantic". Its obvious she didn't do it in the time she claims (80 days or so). If she has whats necessary to swim crazy distances, why not do something which actually can be done without any asterisks like swimming from north america to south america.

I remember a fewf years ago when 2 entrants cheated on the Marine Corps marathon in DC. They ran 20 instead of 26.2 miles. WHY? If they can run 20 miles, why not do a kick ass 30K instead?

Freaking cheaters.

I mean hell, does wading in a pool on the big red boat count as swimming to the carribean? If so, I swear to god I'm gonna be the mark spitz of long distance swimming.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:42 PM on February 11, 2009


Fucking pigs.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:13 PM on February 11, 2009


the childhood years and times I have known with foam kick-pads; the feeling that when one was in the water with me, all fun was about to not happen, the terrible shame of guiding my little yellow or bright blue floating companion was doing me no favors; the short-lived thrill of yanking one down to force it to pop up, unimpressively, barely out of the water, and not shooting into the air in defiance.

So I take it then that I'm not the only one who tried to push one of those things underwater and stand on it, in the hopes that it would rocket me upwards and across the surface of the pool like the Silver Surfer?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:10 PM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


So I take it then that I'm not the only one who tried to push one of those things underwater and stand on it, in the hopes that it would rocket me upwards and across the surface of the pool like the Silver Surfer?

You are correct. Those things are basically made with plastic and empty misleading promises.
posted by jscott at 10:59 PM on February 11, 2009



So I take it then that I'm not the only one who tried to push one of those things underwater and stand on it, in the hopes that it would rocket me upwards and across the surface of the pool like the Silver Surfer?

You are correct. Those things are basically made with plastic and empty misleading promises.



And they don't balance for diddly either. The kick-pad always floated up, but also always managed to tip over/shrug me off right before hitting the surface. Bogus.
posted by niles at 11:23 PM on February 11, 2009



So I take it then that I'm not the only one who tried to push one of those things underwater and stand on it, in the hopes that it would rocket me upwards and across the surface of the pool like the Silver Surfer?

You are correct. Those things are basically made with plastic and empty misleading promises.


And they don't balance for diddly either. The kick-pad always floated up, but also always managed to tip over/shrug me off right before hitting the surface. Bogus.


You guys didn't realize you have to get a running head start, have someone throw the board lightly forward onto the surface of the water and jump trying to land on it with forward momentum? Every few tries you get a good 10 foot glide, as long as you don't crack open your skull on the pool deck. (I had 2 brothers, if that makes any sense.)
posted by JimmyJames at 11:36 PM on February 11, 2009


You guys didn't realize you have to get a running head start, have someone throw the board lightly forward onto the surface of the water and jump trying to land on it with forward momentum?

This sounds like exactly the sort of thing I'd get dared to do, and I'd attempt it, knowing full well what the consequences would be. It does give me some retroactive comfort to know there was no YouTube back then.

"omfg look at this dipshit kid totally EAT IT trying to surf a kickboard. lol dumass."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:17 AM on February 12, 2009


I can't even think about the idea of swimming in a pool without feeling very very tired.
posted by anniecat at 6:33 PM on February 12, 2009


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