Catalina Channel Swimming Federation

South Swell Pushes Catalina Swimmers

Celebrating a Dozen Successful Relay & Solo Swimmers

Swimmers in August got a taste of the various challenges (beyond 20-miles non-stop swimming) in the Catalina Channel: Large long ocean swells, consistent breeze (for many at night), and a precipitous temperature gradient near the mainland.

Congratulations to Darren Miller, Blair Cannon, Brad McVetta, Yesenia Cabrera, Cliff Crozier, Clay Rinker, Evan Morrison, Katy Dooley, Murph Renford and Samuel Neri.

With his eye on the Ocean’s Seven, Darren Miller attacked the Catalina Channel in 9 hours and 15 minutes (all times unofficial until the end of the season). He swims for the Forever Fund, which benefits families with infants at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Next on Darren’s swimming agenda is the Molokai Channel.

Blair Cannon surprised himself when he achieved a “top 20” CCSF time of 8 hours and 18 minutes. His swim benefited the Monarch School, a San Diego-based public K-12. Blair said “I started at midnight, and it was surreal. I just swam out into the unknown.”

Brad McVetta has the goal of completing the Triple Crown in a single year. Catalina was the second leg, in a final time of 11 hours and 24 minutes. He was a man of few words in the water– all business. Even as 50 dolphins stampeded past him. Best wishes for Brad as he waits out the weather in Dover England.

Yesenia Cabrera (Yessy to her friends) crossed the Catalina Channel in 15 hours and 19 minutes. This was the longest she’s ever been in the water. She became the first woman from Latin America to earn the Triple Crown of open water swimming. Yessy’s dear friend praised her by saying “With faith, discipline and perseverance all your dreams can be obtained.”

Cliff Crozier returned to Catalina with one goal in mind: To make it a faster swim. Congratulations to Cliff on his crossing of 10 hours and 41 minutes. Exactly 16 seconds better than his time in 2010. Those quick feeds really paid off!

Newport Beach ocean lifeguard Clay Rinker made national news about a week before he dove into the Catalina Channel. He was part of the rescue team that saved a young man’s life. He buried himself alive for nearly 30-minutes after digging a sand cave, which collapsed. Clay’s 10 hour and 51 minute swim was far less dramatic. Upon his arrival at Terranea Cove, he promptly laid down on the warm sand to recover from the cold swim.

For the past year, Evan Morrison has blogged about his open water pursuits in and around Chicago. He spent a week acclimating in Southern California before he crushed a Catalina crossing (in 8 hours and 56 minutes). He Tweeted his initial reaction: “One of the most beautiful yet intensely unpleasant experiences I can recall. Funny how marathon swimming works like that.”

As an age group swimmer in Minnesota, Katy Dooley set several records. A few decades later and they still stand. And today Katy stands tall as a Catalina swimmer (in 9 hours and 49 minutes). A strong South swell from New Zealand made the “surf” into the beach pretty treacherous. Nothing like getting a few red badges of courage. Those bruised knees will likely become a conversation piece back home in Texas.

Australian swimmer Michael (Murph) Renford returned to Catalina with some “unfinished business”. He set the date of his swim to coincide with his 50th birthday and Australia’s “Father Day”. Murph’s late dad, Des Renford, is a famed marathon swimmer with 19 crossings of the English Channel. In honor of his father, Murph swam the Catalina Channel, in 9 hours and 13 minutes, with his dad’s gold wedding band tied to his Speedos. Congratulations to Murph on this accomplishment, and finally earning the Triple Crown. To paraphrase him mid-Channel, Murph looked to his support team on the boat and said “Let’s go smash ourselves for the next hour.”

And yesterday, Mexican swimmer Samuel Neri landed at Palos Verdes after swimming for 13 hours and 44 minutes. He might have been short on words to say in English, but his expressions said it best. Sam felt fatigued, but enormously proud to have conquered the Catalina Channel.

Congratulations to each of these solo swimmers and support teams. We hope to see you at the awards banquet in San Pedro on Saturday November 5th.


Annual CCSF Banquet is November 5th

Solo & Relay Swimmers Honored Along with Volunteers

Later this month, the formal invitations will arrive for the annual CCSF banquet for relay and solo swimmers. Please consider joining us on Saturday November 5th, for brunch, the awards ceremony, and the media presentation of the 2011 season. Paula Selby is now collecting swimmers’ photos from their crossing.


Three Relay Teams Celebrate in August

Teams Test Their Limits (and Test the Waters for a Solo?)

At the awards banquet, the CCSF will honor three successful relay teams from the month of August.

Are We There Yet? enjoyed one of the most spectacular dolphin shows while swimming across in 11 hours 40 minutes. The team of 3 adults and 3 youths were Kathy Coiner, Kyle Coiner, Scott Coiner, Arno Chrispeels, AJ Krause, and Grace van der Byl.

Leave It To Beaver was led by Jack Beaver, and anchored by experienced marathon swimmer Becky Jackman-Beeler. The other members were first-timers on the Catalina Channel: Ben Galdston, Chuck Witham, Dave Greeley, and Kevin Rosenthal.

Wave Breakers featured open water enthusiasts Scott Sutton, Mike Mitchell, Annie Winners, Merci Jensen, Chuck Mendenhall, and Preston Gable who swam late in the month during the large South swell.


Swimmer Lynne Cox Publishes 3rd Book

‘South with The Sun’ Available Next Week, Book Tour Soon

Swimming legend Lynne Cox will have a new book in stores. The author of “Swimming to Antarctica” and “Grayson” returns to non-fiction with “South with The Sun: Roald Amundsen, His Polar Explorations, and the Quest for Discovery”. Amundsen was the first to reach the South Pole (in 1911, the book honors the 100th anniversary of his triumph) and the first to sail through the Northwest Passage. Cox weaves the explorer’s stories with her own challenging adventures. She’s swum in the same icy waters as Amundsen sailed: Antarctica, the Bering Strait, and off the coast of Greenland. Not only was Cox concerned about water below 30 degrees, but also the Greenland Shark, Polar Bear, and Walrus. One critic described her third book as (quote) “A bold adventure story of bold ambitious dreams”.


Norma Jeane Baker Lived on Catalina

Avalon Museum Chronicles ‘Before She was Marilyn’

The Catalina Island Museum is located on the ground floor of the iconic Avalon Casino. Through the end of October, an exhibit explores the year that Marilyn Monroe lived on the island. This was during World War 2, before she became the ultimate pop culture celebrity. The museum exhibit features diary entries, letters and photos taken of Norma Jeane on Catalina. Just a matter of months after returning to Los Angeles (she didn’t swim, she took the ferry), a photographer discovered Norma Jeane and her career was launched. The rest is history…


Flashback: Lifelong Lessons in Channel

Mike Suttle Learned All He Needed Swimming Catalina

We try with this newsletter to keep you updated with Catalina swims and explore the rich history in the Channel. Mike Suttle, is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his Catalina crossing. Swims were different back in 1986, without the reliance upon GPS navigation and fewer marathon swimmers to share information and support. Still, Mike says he gained valuable lessons swimming Catalina and sealed bonds with his support team. So much so that he married one of his support members, Carolyn (pictured).

Mike believes 5 aspects of marathon swimming trained him to be better in business. The Channel taught him the skills of leadership, networking, contributing, and keeping the proper perspective. But perhaps most importantly: persistence. He paraphrases Winston Churchill when he says his “never give up” attitude was forged while swimming the Catalina Channel.

Looking back, Mike laughs that he thought he was an “old guy” for attempting Catalina at age 33. It seems pretty young, now. He keeps his youthful health by swimming nearly daily

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

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