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Who were these people anyways?

February 1, 2009

Now I didn’t know a ton about all these swimmers before I headed down to New Zealand, but I learned a ton.  Below is a very very brief resume of the swimmers.

Penny Palfrey:  one of the main organizers of the Taupo swim.  Swims include: 2 x English Channel, Cook Strait, Gibralter Strait, 2 x Manhattan Island Marathon swim, San Miguel to Mainland – Santa Barbara Channel, Tampa Bay Marathon, 8 x Rottnest Channel, Pan Pacific Italy.  Motto: Swim, Swim, Swim, Love it, Live it, be safe, have fun and kick ass!  Penny has a passion for swimming and she is a supporter of all swimmers and helping them achieve their goals.  That and she is an amazing chaser.  I think given the chance she could chase down Michael Phelps.  For more information visit 

Chris Palfrey: one of the main organizers of the Taupo swim.  Swims include: 2 x Manhattan Island Marathon swim, Tampa Bay, 8 x Rottnest Channel, Santa Barbara Channel, Gibralter Strait.  Motto:  No I’m not swimming backstroke 🙂  I can’t wait to see what Chris accomplishes when he semi-retires.  I thought I had a list of swims to do.  I think Chris’s list is 10x as long as mine.  But he has some amazing determination, so I know that given the time those swims on his list will be ticked off one by one.

Julie Bradshaw: one of the main organizers of the Taupo swim. Started marathon swimming career at the eary age of 14.  She has followed her passion around the world and participated in many world first marathon relay swims.  In addition, she is hte current world record holder for swimming the English Channel butterfly.  For more information visit

Steve Junk:  Swims: Rottnest Channel too many times to count including a double, Gibralter Strait, Sydney Harbor to Manly, 2 x Manhattan Island Marathon swim, Ederle Swim, Torquay Bay swim in England, English Channel Relay, Swimming between the Cinque Terre villages in Italy.  Apart for traveling the world for swims and work, Steve is a connoissuer of wine which he is taking to the next level by purchasing a winery.

Stephen Spence: Swims: Magnetic Island swim Queensland (Dude this was done in a shark cage…scary man)., too many 2k – 8k swims to list.  Stephen has an unusual story as just last year he was diagnosed with leukemia.  The strength that he has to overcome leukemia and then say “Yes” to the very persuasive Chris Palfrey.  I don’t know if you remember but 2 swimmers unfortunately had to drop out at the last minute.  Chris was in email conversation with Stephen and proposed he join us for the Lake Taupo Relay swim.  I don’t think anyone can turn down Chris (see my hiking account earlier).  Stephen did an amazing job and I would have never known about his previous battle.  He is a true inspiration.  Here is a great story in his own words – pages 6-8 swimmers_news_-_december_081

Mark Cockroft: Now this guy is completely crazy.  He with Steve Junk for the English Channel relay.  Plus his list of triathlons, marathons, marathon swims, etc.  Way too long to list here.  I mean he was so crazy that he after this swim he competed in an ironman just a mere 2 weeks after this swim.  I don’t have his results from this event…sorry.

Dougal Hunt: A relative newcomer to swimming and he jumped in big with marathon swimming.  In the past 2 years since starting swimming he has accomplished the English Channel and the Gibralter Straits.  In addition, he has raised $64,000 for cancer research.  In addition to swimming, Dougal has a passion for traveling.  As we speak he is trekking around South America for 6 months.  I can only imagine the adventures and probably swims that he will do.

Barbara Pellick: Barbara like everyone has a long list of swims on her resume including; 22 x Rottnest Channel including the first double.  This makes her the queen of the Rottnest Channel a title that she humbly accepts.  English Channel – Solo and Relay, Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, inaugural winner of the 10k Lake Argyle swim, etc. etc. etc.  Barbara is also just a strong supporter of the team.  On the boat it was Barb who helped me after my last leg and helped me put everything in perspective.  I am eternally grateful for that support.

Heather Osbourne:  I don’t think that there is a swim in New Zealand that she hasn’t completed or attempted.  As I’ve said she immediately gained my admiration by choosing to swim behind the boat.  I don’t have the same mental fortitude to always feel like I was chasing after the boat.  I think that Heather’s swim resume will soon include a solo crossing of Lake Taupo.  In addition to swimming, Heather has a knack for having anything and everything that anyone would need in her car.  Need something for a quick lunch, she has chips and dips in the car.  Need a scissors…it’s in the car.  How about some olive oil?  Yep its in there.  I would have loved to see her on that TV show where to get on the panel you had to provide the host with whatever he asked for.  The name of the show escapes me right now. 

Lucy Roeper:  Now trying to get Lucy to tell me about her swim and other history was like pulling teeth.  In fact, I’ve got nothing on her.  I do know that she has participated in another world first relay swim besides this one.  She is one of the best hikers I have ever seen in my life.  If we do another hike, I’m totally hitching a ride on her back.  I’m sure she would still motor through.  She has competed in marathons, triathlons and many other adventures.  She is also an amatuer boxer and has one all of her matches under the fighting name of Razer Roeper.  She says there are YouTube videos, but I couldn’t find them.  I think this is more my search skills rather than them not being there.  She has a wit that sneaks up on me and has me laughing for days afterwards. 

That’s the swimmers and then we had the shore crew of Peter and Michael.  When we would get in the water for our morning swim, this father and son duo would head out for a quick run.  Now we were only ever in the water for 40 minutes tops.  Peter and Michael would already be back from their run.  I of course assumed they had maybe run 3 miles.  I asked once and they looked at me and mentioned that they had run probably 6 miles.  WHAT?  6 miles in 40 minutes.  That and they nonchalantly state that it was an easy run.  You have got to be kidding me.  Geepers I can’t run 2 blocks let alone at least 6 miles in 40 minutes. 

Besides the running, Peter and Michael were there all the time for the swimmers.  They let us talk and talk and talk about all the different swims around the world and they geniunely seemed interested.  I partially think that Michael thought we were all nuts.    And I guess in our own ways we all are Peter and Michael included 🙂

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