Week In Review, Aug. 13

Rev. Jacob Smith

Rev. Jacob Smith

Several members of the Cavalry-St. George’s parish, including Reverend Jacob Smith and Josh Encinias, were at the All Angels Episcopal Church in Twilight Park, Greene County over the weekend when a fire broke out. Everyone was able to escape the building and although several people were hospitalized, all are expected to make a full recovery. The building was destroyed in the fire, which is believed to be electrical in origin. Reverend Smith will be at Calvary-St. George’s next Sunday and available then to provide an update.

Stuyvesant Town resident and swimmer Simona Dwass completed a big race on the first Saturday in August. The recent high school graduate was attempting the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, taking a counterclockwise turn about the island, and she made it in eight hours and 20 minutes. She was initially worried that the water temperature might be an impediment to her finishing but managed to overcome the obstacle. “I was cold, but just kept going,” she said. “Overall it was a great adventure.”

Breastfeeding mothers and families, elected officials and advocates from throughout the city participated in the “NYC Breastfeeding Leadership Council’s Annual Breastfeeding Subway Caravan” on the steps of City Hall on Friday.
After the rally, the caravan traveled on the A train to Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Restoration Plaza for the Brooklyn Alliance for Breastfeeding Empowerment’s (B.A.B.E.) day-long breastfeeding celebration. The Breastfeeding Leadership Council seeks to draw attention to the fact that too many women are still being questioned or harassed for breastfeeding in public.
At the rally, Maloney was presented with the NYC Breastfeeding Leadership Council’s Breastfeeding Champion Award for her leadership in promoting breastfeeding as an option for working mothers. For many years, Maloney has introduced legislation to promote and protect a mother’s right to breastfeed. She partnered with Senator Jeff Merkley to include a provision in the Affordable Care Act stating that employers must provide breastfeeding employees with “reasonable break time” and a private, non-bathroom place to express breast milk during the workday, until the child’s first birthday.

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Stuy Town teen will attempt swim around Manhattan

Simona Dwass, pictured preparing for an NYCSwim event last year (Photo courtesy of Simona Dwass)

Simona Dwass, pictured preparing for an NYCSwim event last year (Photo courtesy of Simona Dwass)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A Stuy Town resident is preparing for a marathon this weekend, but she isn’t going to need her shoes.

Recent high school graduate Simona Dwass, who Town & Village readers might remember as the intrepid swimmer who freestyled the 17 miles from the East River near East 26th Street to Coney Island last summer in a record-breaking four hours and 24 minutes, will be attempting to swim around the entire island of Manhattan this Saturday in the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. The feat is more than ten miles longer than the swim to Coney Island at 28.5 miles but Dwass is confident in her stamina to finish the race. She said that the only challenge she’s anticipating is the water temperature.

“If the water is too cold I might not be able to make it,” she said. “Even if it’s 73 degrees, it would be hard to swim for seven hours. The currents are supposed to be strong the entire swim so it would just be an issue of the temperature.”

Eighteen-year-old Dwass was the youngest person to complete the trip to Coney Island, known as the Rose Pitonof Swim, and she is pushing boundaries again, being one year younger than the usual age requirement of 19 for the marathon swim. The teen said she was excited to learn last year that the competition’s namesake was 17 at the time of the race, just like she was at her attempt.

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Stuy Town teen blows competition out of the water in 17-mile swim

By Maria Rocha-Buschel


Simona Dwass at the finish line in Coney Island (photo by Agnus McIntyre)

Simona Dwass at the finish line in Coney Island (photo by Agnus McIntyre)

Four intrepid swimmers took a dip in the East River last Saturday morning to participate in the annual Rose Pitonof Swim, traveling 17 miles in the chilly water to Coney Island. Stuyvesant Town resident Simona Dwass was attempting the feat as the swim’s youngest participant in the five years since it started, and not only did she finish, she also set a course record, reaching Coney Island in four hours and 24 minutes.

The 17-year-old Hunter College High School student has been swimming in open water since she was 12 and although she also competes in swimming events in a pool, she said that she prefers the open water.

“There are no boundaries so you don’t have to flip-turn to keep going,” she said. “You can just swim forever. And there are so many courses you can do and I like just playing with the currents in the open water.”

The swim, first organized by Urban Swim founder Deanne Draeger, starts in the East River at 26th Street because that’s where its namesake started out in 1911. The swimmers all boarded their boats from the pier at East 23rd Street and headed up the river three blocks for the race’s 8 a.m. start time.

The other three swimmers this year were Kathryn Mason, who got a head start on the race because she was attempting to do butterfly (and succeeded), Kenn Lichtenwalter and Kathleen Jaeger. Mason was also the swim’s first international participant, flying over from England just for the event. Alan Morrison, who swam breaststroke in the race last year, was on Mason’s safety boat and had helped her mentally prepare for choosing a slower, more unconventional stroke.

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