Elaine Howley is a former Division I collegiate swimmer and ocean lifeguard who began competing in long-distance open water events in 2006 with her first 8-mile Boston Light Swim. Since then, Elaine has gone on to complete marathon swimming’s Triple Crown—solo crossings of the English Channel, Catalina Channel, and a solo circumnavigation of Manhattan Island—and many other cold, difficult swims, all completed without the aid of a wetsuit. She currently holds the record for the fastest double crossing of the Boston Harbor, a 16-mile swim that broke a 41-year old record. In July 2014, she became the first person to swim the 32.3-mile length of Lake Pend Oreille in northern Idaho. In August 2015 she became only the third American to swim the length of Loch Ness, a 22.2-mile swim in water that ranged from 51 to 57 degrees.
Elaine is also a passionate volunteer in open water swimming circles. In 2009, she and training partner Greg O’Connor took over management of the 8-mile Boston Light Swim, an annual tradition in Boston Harbor since 1907. They also co-founded the Massachusetts Open Water Swimming Association (MOWSA), which organizes the annual Jim Doty Memorial Mile, Ice Swim events (in conjunction with the International Ice Swimming Association), and the Vampire Swim to support the American Red Cross. MOWSA also sanctions and observes solo marathon swims in Massachusetts waters, providing opportunities for other swimmers to push their boundaries. Elaine is also a committee member for the Marathon Swimmers Federation and was a co-author of the Rule of Marathon Swimming, which were released in January 2014 to help codify and disseminate the generally accepted practices of the sport.
When she’s not swimming, organizing, or observing, Elaine is Associate Editor for U.S. Masters Swimming, editing and contributing content to the non-profit organization’s bi-monthly magazine, SWIMMER, usms.org, and several e-newsletters. An award-winning writer, her stories—often about strong female athletes or open water swimming—have also appeared in H2Open magazine, espnW, AARP.org, Mushing magazine, Inked magazine, and several other online and print publications. Elaine is a 2000 graduate of Georgetown University and earned her Master’s degree in Publishing and Writing from Emerson College in 2006. She lives in Waltham, Massachusetts, with her husband and favorite support kayaker, Mark, and two cats, Haddie and Hemingway. You can read more about Elaine on her blog, Tales of the Beer Baby.