An alum of Slippery Rock University spent part of her summer swimming across the English Channel.
If that isn’t impressive enough- Tracy Grilli completed the feat as part of the first-ever relay team consisting of all women over the age of 60.
Grilli anchored the last leg of the team’s nearly 11-hour, 30-plus mile swim.
The team- named the “Mighty Mermaids”- dove into 58 degree water on July 23. Theirs was the third fastest of any relay attempt so far in 2019, with the fastest time belonging to a group comprised of seven men and women.
“I kept peeking my head up to see how far I was and the beach was just not coming fast enough,” Grilli said. “Knowing you are on a team with five other women, you just know you have to do it and you just go. I just kept swimming. When I saw the big rocks I said, ‘OK, I’m getting close.’ When I saw the beach I headed for it. When I reached the shore I put my hands up and all my teammates were coming toward me and we all high-fived and hugged. We all grabbed rocks for souvenirs and swam back to the boat.”
Since Matthew Webb became the first person to swim the English Channel in 1875, there have been nearly 4,000 channel swims consisting of 1,832 swimmers completing 2,369 solo swims, including Trent Grimsey’s record time of 6 hours, 55 minutes in 2012. More than 7,700 swimmers have taken part in more than 1,000 relay swims. The average age of relay swimmers is 34 years, 299 days, and the average relay time is 12 hours, 45 minutes.
Grilli now lives in New Hampshire. She graduated from SRU in the late 70s with a degree in health and physical education. She was a member of The Rock swim teams.