You Do What Now? : Abigail Fairman, Triple Crown Swimmer


Abigail Fairman

Abigail Fairman has completed a number of the world’s most challenging open-water swims.

Neely Cameron, Staff Writer

To swim the English Channel, Abigail Fairman took off at approx. 6 pm from Shakespeare Beach off the southern coast of England. She swam nonstop through the night and landed in France the next morning.

The water was fairly warm for open water, 64 degrees F. The air was much colder, about 40-43 degrees F. “It was probably worse for the crew on the boat, honestly,” she says.

As an accomplished open water swimmer, Fairman says, “Different swims have been difficult for different reasons.” She recently attempted a Double Catalina channel swim, which she didn’t finish due to a rare current that pushed her down towards Long Beach.

She swam for 27 hours and was mildly hypothermic when the crew pulled her out of the water. 

Fairman has done the 20 Bridges in Manhattan swim twice. First in 2014 with a single time around, and then again in 2018, with a double lap around the island.

She says, “It was a beautiful way to see the city, very special for me being that I lived in Manhattan at the time”.  Fairman is currently doing a cross country move to California and says, “The best part of being a swimmer in California is that you can swim all year round! In New York, you can swim until about October or November before it gets way too cold”.

With many open ocean swims under her belt, Fairman has had encounters with sharks before, but she says that jellyfish are the bigger problem. “I’ve been stung by a Manowar before, not fun. I got slashed on my neck by one while doing the double Catalina…”

Her first swim was in a lake named Memphremagog in Vermont on the Canadian Border.  She remarked how she and her mate she did the swim with were stunned at how far they swam when that’s “more like a warm-up race to us now.”

Fairman says her favourite swim was the 3rd SCAR event swim in Arizona and stated, “After that, I kind of realized where my career was going.”

Fairman’s advice for aspiring swimmers is  “Get out there and try it! Don’t wait until you’re 40 like me.”