Barber falls short of historic swim

Rijl Barber, a speech pathologist in the Bremerton School District, attempted to become the second person ever to swim 25.5 miles around Bainbridge Island nonstop, the first woman ever. However, the third time was not her charm.

Barber attempted the swim two times but fell short because of tough tides and the rescue boat breaking down, forcing her to end her record pace for safety concerns.

Barber began her third stint at Skiff Point Pier Aug. 9 at 5:45 a.m. When she began, the sky was nearly black, winds reached 10 miles per hour and raindrops showered sporadically. However, Barber continued to push through the tough conditions toward the Southeast tip of BI.

Barber planned to finish in around 12 hours but fell behind because of the winds and strong tides. It took her about six hours to reach the first viewing site, Fort Ward State Park.

Barber also dealt with the paths of the ferries traveling to Bainbridge and Bremerton. Yet she continued to push, making it to Fletcher Bay near 5 p.m., a little over 10 miles left.

Around 6:30 p.m., Andrew Malinak, head of the NOWSA safety committee, said Barber’s journey ended at Battle Point. She waved the white flag nearly 13 hours and over 17 miles into her trek.