From Openwaterpediamarathon swimmers, specializing in channel swims around the world.
She is a mother of three, a grandmother of one, and a 2010 inductee as an Honour Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. The member of the 24-hour club is originally from England with dual citizenship of Australia.
Formerly a world-class pool swimmer, Penny has reached her stride in channel swimming as she has set records in the Strait of Gibraltar, Molokai Channel (12 hours 7 minutes) and Santa Barbara Channel as well as completed swims in the Cook Strait, English Channel, Catalina Channel, Tsugaru Channel, Molokai Channel. She has completed 6 out of the 7 channels of the Oceans Seven and various other swims from Lake Taupo in Australia to the Cayman Brac Channel in the Caribbean Sea. She also attempted to cross the 72-mile Kaieiewaho Channel twice in 2010 between the islands of Kauai and Oahu and a 168 km crossing from Cuba to Florida across the Florida Strait in June 2012 without the aid of a shark cage.
She was nominated for the 2011 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year and made worldwide news by completing the Bridging The Cayman Islands swim (see finish below). She also attempted a solo swim across the Straits of Florida before she exited the water 41 hours 6 minutes from the start due to powerful oncoming currents from the Gulf Stream.
2012 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year Nomination
The mere mention of the name Penny Palfrey in the open water swimming world elicits immediate respect and awe. Whether she dramatically succeeds or is involuntarily pulled from the water, Palfrey is a true adventurer in the classic sense. She searches for improbable and seemingly impossible courses, and then melds her body and mind to achieve her goals. The 50-year-old underwent an outrageously demanding training schedule that would flat-out exhaust world-class athletes half her age. Palfrey attempted the most difficult hot-cold water double marathon swim in history. She got nearly 80 miles under tropical heat, while stung from head to toe with venomous jellyfish, in her Florida Straits swim between Cuba and Florida. Then less than 2 months later, swam nearly 12 hours into her North Channel attempt between Scotland and Ireland before she was involuntarily pulled due to hypothermia. These swims were not defined as failures; they were audacious attempts that demonstrated her remarkable physical tools and unworldly mental strengths. For her unique view of the Earth as a marathon swimming oasis, for her aquatic adventures of unprecedented difficulty, for her ability to organize and attempt swims around the globe, Penny Palfrey's back-to-back marathon swims are a worthy nominee for the 2012 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
Taupo x 3 Relay
Palfrey was a member of the Taupo x 3 relay, a three-way crossing of Lake Taupo by a 6-person male team and a 6-person female team of experienced open water swimmers in January 2009. The Taupo x 3 relay teams set a world lake swimming record by completing a 126 km (78.2 miles) triple-crossing of Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand under organisers Chris Palfrey, Penny Palfrey, and Julie Bradshaw. The swim started at 5:33 am on 5 January 2009.
The men's relay team finished in 33 hours 31 minutes 15 seconds and included Steve Junk (Australia), Mark Cockroft (New Zealand), Dougal Hunt (Australia), Chris Palfrey (Australia), and Stephen Spence (Australia) with New Zealand legend Philip Rush as the escort pilot. The women’s relay team finished in 33 hours 33 minutes 45 seconds and included Julie Bradshaw (England), Michelle Macy (USA), Barbara Pellick (Australia), Penny Palfrey (Australia), Lucy Roper (England), and Heather Osborn (New Zealand).
The plan was to start at first light from near Tokaanu, at the southern most point of the lake, heading roughly north east past Motutaiko Island, cutting close to Rangitiri point, before finishing on the beach in front of the Waikato River. The distance by GPS for one lap was 40.2 km. The second lap retraced the course back to the starting point and the final lap was a repeat of the first.
The men finished the first leg of 40.2 km in a time of 10 hours 22 minutes; the women finished in 10 hours 28 minutes. The men finished the second leg of 40.2 km in 12 hours 15 minutes; the women finished in 12 hours 19 minutes. The men finished the third leg of 40.2 km in 10 hours 54 minutes; the women finished in 10 hours 53 minutes. Both teams broke the world relay record set in December 2008 by 2 teams of 50 swimmers, each doing 2 km, who covered 100 km in 37 hours 6 minutes.
Marathon Swimming Career
- Rottnest Channel in 2000 in 4:46 at the age of 37
- Rottnest Channel in 2001 in 4:36 at the age of 38
- Rottnest Channel in 2003 in 6:42 at the age of 40
- Rottnest Channel in 2004 in 5:12 at the age of 41
- Rottnest Channel in 2005 in 4:40 at the age of 42
- Rottnest Channel in 2006 in 5:52 at the age of 43
- English Channel (England-France) in 2006 in 9:16 at the age of 44
- Cook Strait (South Island-North Island) in 2006 in 8:26 at the age of 43
- Strait of Gibraltar (Spain–Morocco) in 2006 in 4:32 at the age of 43
- Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 2007 in 8:36 at the age of 44
- English Channel (England-France) in 2007 in 9:07 at the age of 45
- Freo to Rotto Big Splash in 2007 in 4:40 at the age of 44
- Rottnest Channel in 2008 in 5:24 at the age of 45
- Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 2008 in 7:35 at the age of 45
- Santa Barbara Channel (San Miguel-Mainland) in 2008, 45K in 11:29 at the age of 46
- Tampa Bay Marathon Swim in 2008 in 7:51 at the age of 45
- Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 2009 in 7:17 at the age of 46
- Maui Channel (Maui-Lanai) in 2009 in 4:31 at the age of 46
- Hawaii's Alenuihaha Channel (Hawaii-Maui) in 2009, 75K in 14:51 at the age of 46
- Santa Barbara Channel (Santa Barbara-Mainland) in 2009, 64K in 17:53 at the age of 47
- Strait of Gibraltar (Spain–Morocco-Spain) in 2010 in 8:27 (3:03 + 5:24) at the age of 47
- Rottnest Channel Swim in 2010 in 5:41 at the age of 47
- Catalina Channel (Catalina–Mainland) in 2010 in 10:36 and 13.5°C (56°F) at the age of 48
- Hawaii's Kaieiewaho Channel (Oahu-Kauai) in March, 2010 (halted due to Portuguese man o war)
- Hawaii's Kaieiewaho Channel (Oahu-Kauai) in November, 2010 (halted due to Portuguese man o war)
- Bridging The Cayman Islands in June 2011 in 40 hours 41 minutes
- Tsugaru Channel in Japan in September 2011
- Molokai Channel in Hawaii in November 2011 in 12 hours 7 minutes
- Tackling The Caribbean Sea
- Australian Women Marathon Swimmers
- Finishing A 68-Mile Solo Swim
- Beautiful Blue Carpet For Penny Palfrey
- Penny and Chris Palfrey Marathon Swims
- Bridging The Cayman Islands
- Penny Palfrey Project (live on World Polio Day on 24 October 2011)
- Open Water Swimming website
- Ups And Downs of the Open Water
- Powerfully Pugnacious Pacific vs. Penny
- World Open Water Swimming Woman Of The Year
- 48-year-old Penny Palfrey is Now 41
- The Beauty of Penny Palfrey's Kaieiewaho Channel Crossing
- Updated Hawaiian Island Channel Swimming List
- Losing Sleep Over Open Water Swimming
- Gutsy Gnarley Guargantuan Swim
- Twice The Pleasure, Double The Trouble
- Update From The Pacific Ocean
- No Solo Marathon Swim Exceptions Here
- Perfect Balance Of Work, Home And Family
- Long Line Of Australian Champions
- Oh That Hurts, But The Smile Remains
- Valiant Effort Stopped By Portuguese
- Somewhere Out There In The Monstrous Deep
- Marital Bliss In The Open Water
- Courage, Character, Commitment - 100% Penny
- Puppies, Babies And Night Shifts
- Penny Palfrey Entering Open Water Mosh Pit
- Mountains Or Tropics, What Is More?
- Warm Waters Of Hawaii vs. Cold Waters of
- Pulling For Penny
- From Oahu To Kauai With June Louise
- Kaena To Kauai With Kozlovich
- First Caged, Then Set Free
- World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year
- Updated 24-Hour Club
- Penny Palfrey Press Conference on Cuba
- In The Calm After The Storm
- Adiós From Cuba, Bon Voyage To Florida
- What Conditions Will Penny Palfrey Face For 103 Miles?
- Penny Palfrey Is Blazing Fast Heading Into The First Night
- Penny Palfrey Continues Looking Strong In The Gulf Stream
- Is Penny Palfrey The Greatest Marathon Swimmer Ever?
- Dive In, Swim Across, Walk Out - Powerful Penny Palfrey
- Penny Palfrey - Swim, Rest, Repeat...Up North
- Expect The Unexpected - Penny Palfrey Pulled
- Penny Palfrey Press Conference On Her Cuba Swim
- Penny Palfrey Encounters Hammerhead Sharks
- Oceans Seven List - September 2012
- When Love And Open Water Swimming Mix
- World Open Water Swimming Association
- Penny Palfrey, Marathon Adventurer
- Gutsy Gnarley Guargantuan - Another Kaieiewaho Attempt
- Swimming Safely With The Thoughts Of Sharks
- Five Or More Gets On Rottnest Channel Swim Honour Board
- 30 Open Water Swimmers Known By One Name
- Look Behind And Below You In The Open Water
- Penny Palfrey on Open Water Wednesday
- The Shark Diver Controversy In Ocean Swimming
- Protection Against Stingers Splits Down The Middle
- Greatest Feeling In The World Outside Your Comfort Zone
- The Value Of Safety And Preparedness In The Open Water
- Ka'iwi Channel Swim, Ready For An Epic Undertaking
- Marine Marks And Memories Among Open Water Swimmers
- The Protective Cocoon Of An Escort Crew
- Flowers Sea Swim Held To A Higher Standard
- Publicizing Heroes And Heroines Of The Open Water World
- Publicizing Heroes And Heroines Of Open Water Swimming
- Women Swimming Circles Around Manhattan Island
- Aussie Rules Swimming, Paul Newsome Carries On
- The Cuba Swim, Traditional Marathon Swimming It Is Not
- The Perfect Female Open Water Swimmer
- Finding True Love In The Open Water
- World Record Relay In Lake Taupo
- 1 + 1 > 2 In The Open Water Swimming World
- Will A SEAL Be Able To Follow Penny Palfrey?
- Dealing With Insomnia Before Getting In The Open Water
- Melissa Cunningham Honored Around The World
- Masayuki Moriya Navigating The Pacific With Ocean-navi
- Within 50 Years Will It Be Crossed?
- You Are A Newbie Swimmer If...