Over 3,000 people took a dip in the Hudson River early Sunday morning and it wasn't to escape the sweltering heat that has held New York City hostage over the past week.
The throngs of swimmers donning Lycra shorts and colored bathing caps were athletes competing in the 12th Annual Aquaphor New York City Triathlon.
The world class event has grown from 683 triathletes in its first year to a lottery-based system to try and accommodate all the requests to participate.
One of this year's most well-known competitors in the Olympic-class distances of swimming, bicycling and running was the female boxing great Laila Ali.
The undefeated Ali— who retired in 2007— said it was her first time attempting a Triathlon —the 1.5-K swim, 40-K bike ride topped off with a 10-K run around Central Park— anywhere. She had been working with a trainer with help from Aquaphor.
The daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali didn't disappoint and finished near the top of her class (Female 35-39 year-old) with a time of 3:06:22.
The Men's Champion was American Jordan Jones, 31, with a record time of 1:45:04 and the Women's Champion was another American Amy Bevilacqua, 34, with a time of 2:02:29.
The weather was more cooperative during this year's event. The near-record temperatures— in the mid-nineties over the past few days— dipped and a late Saturday night thunderstorm passed by taking most of the humidity with it.
Last year, two competitors suffered heart attacks during the swimming phase of the competition and more precautions like additional re-hydration stations were notable.
Athletes from 44 states and 10 countries participated in the event— the only Olympic-distance Triathlon in New York City— and includes Pros, Para Triathletes (physically-challenged) and age groups from 18-77.
After the race, Ali said it was harder than she thought it would be but was "glad she did it."