Following Up! In the Aug. 10 issue of The Gazette, staff writer Mike Field reported on Viki Altomonte's quest to swim the 28-mile Manhattan Island Marathon. Here is a follow-up report on how she did: "I heard Jennifer say 'Swim like hell!' but she was pointing in the wrong direction," says Altomonte of her near catastrophic run-in with a luxury liner. With less than a third of the course remaining, a faulty radio on board her companion boat put an exhausted Altomonte on a collision course with the propeller of the giant ship, which was backing out of its berth on the Hudson River. Altomonte was unaware of the developing crisis until she was literally grabbed from the jaws of death by her husband, Wayne. "They told me to swim toward shore, but I didn't understand why, so I kept going," says Altomonte. "They told me to get in the boat, but I refused." With the ship less than 100 feet away, and the wake of the propeller beginning to pull both Viki and her companion boat into its path, Wayne grabbed his wife by the arm and pulled alongside the boat. Race officials ruled the rescue a life-or-death emergency and did not disqualify her from the event. She finished in 9 hours, 21 minutes and was taken to the hospital, where the severely dehydrated swimmer received a liter of fluid before being released. "I feel fine now," she says a week after the big event. "And I may swim in this weekend's one mile open water race. But that's it for marathons. I'm really glad I did it, but I won't try again."
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