Paul Timmons, a triathlete and native of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, at the age of 37, was the first to swim across the Delaware Bay on July 17, 2006 in 7 hours 15 minutes.
Timmons swam an estimated 15 miles from Cape May, New Jersey to Delaware as a charity to benefit Beebe Medical Center, where his grandfather was treated for cancer. Timmons, who swam in water temperatures that dropped from 70 degrees to an average of 67 degrees, which required a wetsuit due to his low percentage(4%) of body fat, followed approximately the same route the Cape May-Lewes Ferry takes between its ports in Lower Township and Lewes, which is about 12 miles from Cape May Point. Delaware River and Bay Authority spokesman James Salmon said the ferry takes a more roundabout route of 17 miles across the bay. Swimming mentor Ray Peden (who crossed the English Channel in 1986), Training partner Dave Luscan, and Timmons' girlfriend Marisol Alarcon offered support throughout the swim, as well as WBOC News, who joined them in the support boat to document the journey.
The Delaware House of Representatives, Jeffrey M. Fried, President and CEO of Beebe Medical Center, Michael Clemmer, Executive Director of the Beebe Medical Foundation, Robert Tunnell, III, and his wife Mindi Tunnell recognized Timmons for his record swim and for his support of the Tunnell Cancer Center. The Tunnell Cancer Center was established in 1995. It is a Commission on Cancer-approved, comprehensive community cancer center. Its clinical specialties are hematology/medical oncology and radiation oncology. More than 200 patients visit the center each day.
Paul Timmons, who has been a competitive endurance athlete for 20+ years, is a six-time Ironman triathlon finisher, and has run 20 marathons. He completed a swim around Alcatraz Island and a 12.5-mile swim around Key West in preparation for the Delaware Bay crossing.
There is one previous reference to a swim across the Delaware Bay by Charles Durborow of the Philadelphia Swimming club dating in the 1900's. Physical documentation of swim is to be determined, however, Durborow's swim is given high recognition and stories have been published about him in the Philadelphia inquirer. Dunborow's swim was unknown until an article introducing the swim was published in 2010, 4 years after Timmons' endeavor in 2006.
Lelané Rossouw-Bancroft is a 34-year-old South African cold-water swimmer who became the first female to swim across Delaware Bay. She succeeded on September 11, 2011 in 10 hours 22 minutes. Swimming as a traditionalist (no wetsuit), Rossouw-Bancroft started from a point north of Cape May at Higbee Beach and landed south of Cape Henlopen in Rehoboth Beach. Lelané Rossouw-Bancroft