Catalina Channel Swimming Federation

Records Drop in Catalina Channel

New Records in the Catalina Channel
56-Year-Old Solo and 50-59 Female Relay Set New Marks
The Channel has seen swift swimmers this month. Barbara Held, a 56-year-old retired firefighter, re-wrote the record for the oldest woman to cross. Her time of 9 hours and 36 minutes is downright impressive. Barbara celebrated at Disneyland (true). She was on pace for a possible sub-9 hour swim before a shoulder injury flared up. However, Barbara said she was so determined, she was prepared to swim with one arm.

Two weeks earlier, a group who’ve dubbed themselves the “Mighty Mermaids” lived up to the moniker. All 6 women, Nancy Steadman-Martin, Christie Plank Ciraulo, Tracy Grilli, Jenny Cook, Lisa Bennett and Karen Einsidler are between the ages of 50 & 59. Their final time of 9 hours and 19 minutes lowered that age group relay mark by about 90 minutes.

Forrest Nelson established a new standard by becoming the first male to complete a double-crossing starting from Catalina Island. His final time was 23 hours and 1 minute. Two women have crossed earlier in this fashion. Penny Lee Dean owns the fastest time at 20 hours. And back in 1958, Greta Andersen was the first person to accomplish the 2-way of a major channel. She started on Catalina Island because it was her home.

Reminder: CCSF Website Updated in Nov
Successful Swims of 2010 Will Make List at End of Season
Congratulations to these record-setters. The new records will be published once all the 2010 swims are completed and the final times certified. At that same time, the official CCSF list of successful swims will be updated.

Blazing Speed for Many Solo Swimmers
Fast Athletes, Unusual Currents Push Times Below 9-Hrs
In the past month, we’ve seen 5 solo swimmers achieve times which are among the top 20 in their gender. Mallory Mead of Indiana pushed through the pain during the final miles and finished in 8 hours and 36 minutes, which is the 8th fastest women’s time. Mallory swam a few days after Victoria Rian and Jim Barber did a tandem, finishing side-by-side in 8 hours and 43 minutes. That ranks as the 8th fastest men’s crossing and, for Victoria, the 11th quickest Catalina Channel among women.

They weren’t alone this month in getting the job done shortly after sunrise. 20-year-old University of St Thomas (MN) student Samantha Simon crossed in 9 hours and 22 minutes. At times during her swim, she held an unusual breathing pattern of every 6 strokes. In late July, 28-year-old Sarah Thomas blazed the path in 9 hours and 6 minutes. Her stroke count was in the mid-70s the entire way, with water temps hovering around 64. Both ladies currently rank among the top 20 fastest female crossings. Congratulations.

Complete List of Swims in August
Recognition of Successful 2010 Swimmers
Just a few years ago, 5 successful Catalina swims in an entire summer was pretty typical. On one day, August 6th, five solo swimmers were successful. Jim Barber and Victoria Rian swam side-by-side. They arrived in great spirits, despite drinking too much seawater in the early morning hours. Plus, that same day, three Colorado swimmers, Cliff Crozier, Jeff Magouirk & Katherin Raymond paced each other side-by-side-by-side. They reached Palos Verdes in 10 hours and 41 minutes (Jeff dropped his 2005 time by an hour). They were slowed near the end by the kelp forest. Also, the water temps dropped to near 60. They’ve caught the Catalina bug and we may see them return for more crossings.

Steve Green is stoked by his Catalina Channel crossing in 11 hours and 31 minutes. The San Diego swimmer kept his sense of humor along the way. During a feeding at the 8th hour, with Palos Verdes still in the distance, he remarked to his support crew: “Tell Todd Robinson his record (8:05) is safe.”

Just a few nights ago, two co-ed relays enjoyed the Channel together. They called themselves “Girls Find Lost Boys on Night Out” 1 and 2. They finished in 11 hours and 23 minutes. The relay members were Patsee Ober, John Caughlin, Mike Mitchell, Susie Croke, Joel Swartz, Kevin Valenzuela, Benoit Pelczar, Merci Jensen, Ray Meltvedt, Julie Flanagan and Lynn Kubasek. Yet Lynn says the MVP of the teams was actually Jeff Beeler, who paddled the entire distance in support.

Team Effort with Every Solo Crossing
Special Thanks to Friends & Members of CCSF
We noted earlier, the CCSF season is especially crowded. We’re essentially at the halfway mark in the season, but observers are still needed for several swims in the near future. Paula Selby has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to coordinate official observers and support teams. Please contact Paula and commit to one of these dates. Help a Channel swimmer achieve their dream. The CCSF will reimburse expenses up to $200 for the primary, and $100 for the secondary observer, including gas, groceries, meal and lodging expenses.

Paula also notes “Our steadfast list of observers includes Don Van Cleve, Robert Philipson, Natalie Merrow, John York, Lynn Kubasek, Tom Hecker, Sabrina Carlon, Carol Sing, Jim Fitzpatrick, Forrest Nelson, Merci Jensen, Phil Garn, Jane Cairns, Roman Karbownik, Becky Jackman, and David Clark. Carol and Robert, in particular, scrambled to find additional support crew during a week of peak activity in August. A very special thank you to Steve Dockstader and Al Barret of San Diego for their flexibility and willingness to assist Carol for the Colorado triplet crossing, and to paddlers, Peter Phillips, Beth Barnes, Rich Dutch, and his son, Ryan who volunteered to escort swimmers. Your generous support provides a tremendous service to our Catalina Channel swimmers.”

Looking for Paddle Support?
Beth Barnes Offers Kayak Services to CCSF Swimmers
Long Beach paddler Beth Barnes has spent this summer helping support Catalina Channel swimmers during long training swims and on the day of the crossing. She’s eager to assist more swimmers. Feel free to check her website and contact Beth if you’re in need of additional kayak support.

Annual CCSF Banquet Details Soon
Celebration Falls in November
Congratulations to all the successful 2010 swimmers. We look forward to celebrating your achievements. Planning has already started for the annual banquet, and you can expect to receive details soon. It traditionally falls on the first weekend of November. Swimmers & relays collect your favorite photos from your event for the annual slideshow presentation.

IMPORTANT CCSF CONTACTS: Swimmers apply by writing
To be added-removed from this email distribution list:
Treasurer Carol Sing collects membership fees
Her mailing address is 11487 Oralane Drive, El Cajon CA 92020
The Catalina Channel Swimming Federation Fax line is 866.910.3285
Become a CCSF Facebook Fan at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.


The CCSF continues to strive to improve safety in open water swimming.

Recent Comments