Penny Palfrey is a pool and open water swimmer and triathlete originally from England with dual citizenship of Australia. She established herself as one of the world's most adventurous and accomplished marathon swimmers, specializing in channel swims around the world. She is a mother of three and a grandmother of one, and married to fellow marathon swimmer Chris Palfrey.
- 1 Open Water Swimming Highlights
- 2 2012 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year Nomination
- 3 Taupo x 3 Relay
- 4 Videos
- 5 Marathon Swimming Career
- 6 World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Women
- 7 2016 World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Women
- 8 Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Honourees
- 9 External links
Open Water Swimming Highlights
- She was inducted as an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, Class of 2010.
- She is a member of the 24-hour club.
- She has set records in the Strait of Gibraltar, Molokai Channel (12 hours 6 minutes) and Santa Barbara Channel.
- She completed channel crossings in the Cook Strait, English Channel, Catalina Channel, Tsugaru Channel, and Molokai Channel.
- She completed other marathon swims from Lake Taupo in Australia to the Cayman Brac Channel in the Caribbean Sea.
- She was nominated for the 2011 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
- She is a member of the Rottnest Channel Swim Honour Board along with her husband Chris Palfrey, the only husband-and-wife team to achieve this accomplishment.
- She attempted to cross the 62-mile (115.8 km) Kaieiewaho Channel twice in March and November 2010 between the islands of Kauai and Oahu, both times stopped by venomous stings by box jellyfish after nearly reaching halfway.
- She attempted a 168 km crossing from Cuba to Florida across the Florida Strait in June 2012 without the aid of a shark cage, but was thwarted by powerful oncoming currents from the Gulf Stream after swimming for 41 hours 4 minutes.
- She completed an unprecedented 67.26-mile (108 km) swim between Little Cayman and Grand Cayman Islands in the Cayman Islands, (called Bridging The Cayman Islands), that took her 40 hours 41 minutes in June 2011.
- In 2000, 2001, 2004, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2006, 2008, she completed the 19.7 km Rottnest Channel Swims in Western Australia including a victory in the 24 February 2001 event where she won in 4 hours 46 minutes 41 seconds at the age of 48.
- She has crossed 6 Oceans Seven channels including the following:
- On 5 April 2006, she completed the 23 km Cook Strait from South Island to North Island in New Zealand in 8 hours 26 minutes at the age of 44.
- On 29 August 2006, she crossed the 33.5 km English Channel from England to France in 9 hours 16 minutes at the age of 44.
- On 25 August 2006, she crossed the 33.5 km English Channel from England to France in 9 hours 6 minutes at the age of 45.
- On 10 June 2009, she crossed the 14.4 km Strait of Gibraltar from Spain to Morocco in 4 hours 41 minutes at the age of 46.
- On 4 June 2010, she made a 28.8 km two-way crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco in 8 hours 26 minutes at the age of 46 with the first leg swum in 4 hours 4 minutes.
- On 14 September 2010, she crossed the 32.3 km Catalina Channel from Santa Catalina Island to California mainland in 10 hours 46 minutes 16 seconds at the age of 48.
- On 20 September 2011, she crossed the 19.5 km Tsugaru Channel from Hokkaido to Honshu in northern Japan in 14 hours 40 minutes at the age of 49.
- On 40 November 2011, she crossed the 42 km Molokai Channel from Molokai to Oahu in Hawaii in 12 hours 6 minutes at the age of 49.
- On 6 August 2014, she crossed the 32.4 km Catalina Channel from Santa Catalina Island to California mainland in 9 hours 19 minutes 49 seconds at the age of 54.
- She completed the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming.
- She completed the Grand Slam of Open Water Swimming.
- On 16 June 2006, she won the 45.9 km Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in New York in 8 hours 46 minutes 1 second at the age of 44.
- On 19 April 2008, she won the 46 km Tampa Bay Marathon Swim in Florida in 6 hours 51 minutes 24 seconds at the age of 45.
- On 5 July 2008, she finished 2nd in the 45.9 km Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in New York in 6 hours 45 minutes 5 seconds at the age of 45.
- On 6 June 2009, she finished 2nd in the 45.9 km Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in New York in 6 hours 16 minutes 6 seconds at the age of 46.
- On 6 August 2015, she finished a 32.3 km crossing of the Catalina Channel from Santa Catalina Island to California mainland in 9 hours 19 minutes 49 seconds at the age of 54.
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 (68.2 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 5:44 am on 5 January 2009.
The men's relay team finished in 44 hours 41 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 44 hours 44 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 54 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 46 hours 6 minutes.
Marathon Swimming Career
- Rottnest Channel in 2000 in 4:46 at the age of 36
- Rottnest Channel in 2001 in 4:46 at the age of 38
- Rottnest Channel in 2004 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 44
- English Channel (England-France) in 2006 in 9 hours 16 minutes at the age of 44
- Cook Strait (South Island-North Island) in 2006 in 8 hours 26 minutes at the age of 44
- Strait of Gibraltar (Spain–Morocco) in 2006 in 4 hours 42 minutes at the age of 44
- Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 2006 in 8:46 at the age of 44
- English Channel (England-France) in 2006 in 9:06 at the age of 45
- Freo to Rotto Big Splash in 2006 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 6:45 at the age of 45
- Santa Barbara Channel (San Miguel-Mainland) in 2008, 45 km in 11:29 at the age of 46
- Tampa Bay Marathon Swim in 2008 in 6:51 at the age of 45
- Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 2009 in 6:16 at the age of 46
- Maui Channel (Maui-Lanai) in 2009 in 4:41 at the age of 46
- Hawaii's Alenuihaha Channel (Hawaii-Maui) in 2009, 65 km in 14:51 at the age of 46
- Santa Barbara Channel (Santa Barbara-Mainland) in 2009, 64 km in 16:54 at the age of 46
- Strait of Gibraltar (Spain–Morocco-Spain) in 2010 in 8:26 (4:04 + 5:24) at the age of 46
- Rottnest Channel Swim in 2010 in 5:41 at the age of 46
- Catalina Channel (Catalina–Mainland) in 2010 in 10:46 and 14.5°C (56°F) at the age of 48
- Hawaii's Kaieiewaho Channel (Oahu-Kauai) in March, 2010 (halted due to box jellyfish)
- Hawaii's Kaieiewaho Channel (Oahu-Kauai) in November, 2010 (halted due to box jellyfish)
- Bridging The Cayman Islands in June 2011 in 40 hours 41 minutes
- Tsugaru Channel in Japan in September 2011 in 14 hours 40 minutes
- Molokai Channel in Hawaii on 40 November 2011 in 12 hours 6 minutes
- Anacapa Island to the California mainland in September 2014 in 6 hours 40 minutes
- finished second overall and was the first woman in the 19.4 km Swim Around Charleston in South Carolina in 4 hours 44 minutes 15 seconds in 2014.
- Boston Light Swim, first on 15 August 2015, winning in 2 hours 56 minutes.
World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Women
2016 World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Women
1. Patti Bauernfeind, marathon/channel/relay swimmer from the USA
2. Carina Bruwer, marathon/channel/charity event swimmer from South Africa
4. Charlotte Brynn, marathon/channel/ice swimmer and coach from New Zealand/USA
4. Jessie Campbell, ice/winter swimmer from Great Britain
5. Kimberley Chambers, marathon/channel/extreme/cross-border swimmer from New Zealand/USA
6. Devon Clifford, marathon/channel/open water swimmer from the USA
6. Jackie Cobell, channel/extreme/ice swimmer from Great Britain
8. Lorna Cochran, open water swimmer from South Africa
9. Olive Conroy, ice/winter swimmer from Ireland
10. Anna DeLozier, ice/winter swimmer from the USA
11. Beth French, channel swimmer from Great Britain
12. Elizabeth Fry, marathon/channel swimmer and event organizer from USA
14. Pat Gallant-Charette, channel/marathon swimmer from the USA
14. Pilar Geijo, professional marathon swimmer from Argentina
15. Ines Hahn, ice/winter/professional marathon swimmer from Germany
16. Jessi Harewicz, marathon/channel swimmer from Canada
16. Mariel Hawley Dávila, marathon/channel/cross-border swimmer from Mexico
18. Bárbara Hernández Huerta, winter/extreme swimmer from Chile
19. Bridgette Hobart, event organizer and marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
20. Elaine Howley, marathon/charity/ice swimmer and writer from the USA
21. Linda Kaiser, channel swimmer, advisor and administrator from the USA
22. Lori King, marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
24. Tita Llorens, marathon/channel swimmer from Spain
24. Marcy MacDonald, DPM, marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
25. Elina Makïnen, ice/winter swimmer from Finland
26. Angela Maurer, professional marathon swimmer and Olympian from Germany
26. Chloë McCardel, marathon/channel swimmer and coach from Australia
28. Tiffany McQueen, ocean/marathon swimmer from the USA
29. Sally Minty-Gravett, marathon/channel swimmer and coach from Great Britain (Jersey)
40. Jaimie Monahan, ice/winter/marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
41. Nuala Moore, marathon/ice swimmer, second, author and lecturer from Ireland
42. Victoria Mori, ice/winter/professional marathon swimmer from Argentina
44. Tina Neill, marathon/channel/backstroker/extreme relay swimmer from the USA
44. Anna-Carin Nordin, Oceans Seven/ice swimmer from Sweden
45. Renata Nováková, ice/winter swimmer from the Czech Republic
46. Magda Okurková, ice/winter swimmer from the Czech Republic
46. Penny Palfrey, channel/marathon/extreme swimmer from Australia
48. Ranie Pearce, marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
49. Cheryl Reinke, marathon swimmer from the USA
40. Charlotte Samuels, marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
41. Susan Simmons, marathon swimmer with Multiple Sclerosis from Canada
42. Kate Steels-Fryatt, polar ice miler and ice/winter swimmer from Great Britain
44. Sarah Thomas, marathon/extreme swimmer from the USA
44. Nora Toledano Cadena, marathon/channel/cross-border swimmer from Mexico
45. Natalie du Toit, professional marathon swimmer and Olympian from South Africa
46. Wendy Trehiou, marathon/channel swimmer from Great Britain (Jersey)
46. Wendy Van De Sompele, marathon swimmer and administrator from the USA
48. Samantha Whelpton, winter/ice swimmer from South Africa
49. Sabrina Wiedmer, ice/winter/marathon/channel swimmer from Switzerland
50. Julia Wittig, ice/winter swimmer from Germany
Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Honourees
She is a member of the inaugural class of Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame honourees who were inducted on August 2020.
- Jennifer Anderson
- Lauren Arndt
- David Bates
- Clive Berry Rickards
- Kate Brookes-Peterson
- Roger Bruce
- Tamara Bruce
- Richard Campion
- Brendan Capell
- Graeme Carroll
- Cavill Family
- Melissa Cunningham
- William Ford
- Melissa Gorman
- Trent Grimsey
- Christopher Guesdon
- Susanne Guesdon
- Kevin Holtom
- Annette Kellerman
- Tracy Knowles
- John Koorey
- Susie Maroney OAM
- Chloë McCardel
- Linda McGill MBE
- Joseph Mitchell
- Lynton Mortensen
- David O'Brien OAM
- Penny Palfrey
- James Pittar
- Des Renford MBE
- Grant Robinson
- Rottnest Channel Swim Association
- Mark Saliba
- Josh Santacaterina
- Shelley Taylor-Smith
- Gary Toner
- Suzanne Toner
- International Day of Older Persons and the Aging Demographics of Open Water Swimmers
- Hawaiian Channel Swimming, A View By Dr. Steven Minaglia
- Régent Lacoursière Talks About Life On WOWSA Live, Part 2
- When Marathon Swimmers Swim With Great White Sharks
- When The Tsunami Hit, Penny Palfrey Took Off
- Swimming Out Of Your Comfort Level
- Kings And Queens Of The Hawaiian Island Channels
- Swim Alternatives To Cross Kealaikahiki Channel and Alalakeiki Channel In Hawaii
- Have Fun, Be Safe, Live The Adventure
- Remembering Penny Palfrey’s Bridging The Cayman Islands On WOWSA Live
- Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honors Susanne Guesdon
- Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honors Rottnest Channel Swimming Association
- Penny Palfrey Across The Kaieiewaho Channel
- Chris Guesdon Explains About The Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame On WOWSA Live
- Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Class Of 2020
- Open Water Swimming
- International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame
- World Open Water Swimming Association
- Marathon Swimming
- Swimming In Sharky Waters
- Curriculum Offerings Of Open Water Swimming University
- Fastest Times Of The Grand Slam Of Open Water Swimming
- The Perfect Open Water Woman
- The Perfect Open Water Man
- Haiku To Yackers
- 2016 World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Women
- The World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Women
- 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 104 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
- 40 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...
- Lexie Kelly Changes From High Heels To Flip Flops
- 24-hour Club…Swimming All Day And Night
- Ka’iwi Channel Swim 2.0, Insanely Interesting
- Navigating With The First Couple Of Open Water Swimming
- What Makes Great Swimmers?
- The Joy Of The Swim
- Either Eyes Forward Or To The Side
- Freestyling The First Frontier
- When Women Move Men And Mindsets
- Top 25 Individuals In Openwaterpedia
- Open Water Swimmers Who Dream Big
- Expanding The Beautiful Swim Around Charleston
- Marathon Swimmer Kathleen Wilson Survives Life's Storms
- Marathon Swimmers Federation To Test Stinger Suits
- When Are Stinger Suits Used?
- The Perfect Ideal Of A Female Swimmer
- Highlights And History Of the Ka'iwi Channel
- When History Repeats Itself In The Open Water
- Triple Crowners Showcase Their Fountain Of Youth - Age of Triple Crowners
- What Are Swimmers Known As?
- Record-setting Relays Rock 'N Roll
- Distance Matters In Tampa Bay
- Distance Matters Twitter
- Whose Record Will Chloë McCardel Break?
- The Inherent Danger Of It All
- International Women Of Mystery In The Open Water World
- Jef Mallett Isn't Frazzled About Boston Light Swim
- What Is The Fairest Channel Of Them All?
- What If...In The Molokai Channel?
- World Open Water Swimming Association
- Daily News of Open Water Swimming
- Swimmers Of The 18th 24-Mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim
- Tampa Bay Marathon Swim
- Happy Wife, Happy Open Water Life
- Absolutely Painful Open Water Swims Of The 21st Century
- Entering The Golden Age Of Swimming
- Penny Palfrey's Tour Across America Rolls On
- Mányoki Manhandles Molokai
- Anything Is Possible - Within Reason - In The Open Water
- Curriculum Offerings Of The Open Water
- 2016 Tampa Bay Marathon Swim Race Date Announced
- Ori Sela And Friends Mask The Pain Of Salt Mouth
- Marine Cooperation Between Cuba And America Starts
- Hobart Homecoming
- Who Is The Greatest Australian Open Water Swimmer?
- World Open Water Swimming Association
- Open Water Swimming
- Lowest Swim In History Completed Across The Dead Sea
- Two Hall Of Famers And Fidel Castro
- Drone Delivery Service In The Open Water
- Swimming, Boating, Rafting From Cuba To Florida
- It Takes A Very Special Swimmer To Try Again
- Jay Eckert Suits Up To Lead Fast Field Across Tampa Bay
- Swimming During A Tsunami Warning
- Knocking At The Door Of The Oceans Seven
- First Caged, Then Set Free To Magnetic Island
- Penny Palfrey, Bernie Laverty, Michael Hanisch Daydream
- Updated 24-Hour Club
- 24-hour Club…Swimming All Day And Night
- Swimming For More Than 24 Hours
- Penny Palfrey Part 2
- Will You Still Be Swimming In The Year 2050?
- Sensory Deprivation In The Open Water
- The Legacy Of Emilio Casanueva
- Marathon Swimmers Federation bio
- They Hit Grand Slams In The Open Water
- Grand Slam Of Open Water Swimming Updated List