Catalina Channel Swimming Federation
monica bender 2012

CCSF News – September 2012

Annual Awards Banquet is Saturday November 3rd

Formal Invitation — with RSVP — to Brunch Ceremony Will Be Posted

At the end the season, the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation honors successful swimmers and recognizes the vast number of volunteers, who are the foundation of our organization.

This year’s banquet brunch (November 3rd starting at 10am) will be at the San Pedro Doubletree. All are welcome to attend: Swimmers, family & friends, supporters, and open water swimmers with an eye toward a future channel crossing. Invitations will arrive soon. Advanced reservations are necessary, as seating is limited.

Announcing Successful CCSF Swims in Recent Weeks

Several Relays and Solo Swimmers Accomplish Remarkable Crossings

We hope to see the following swimmers, who made recently a successful and safe journey across the Catalina Channel:

Congratulations to the relay of “Just Keep Swimming” which lived up to their name and just kept swimming — the final day in August — all the way across the Channel in a little more than 13 hours. Just look at those broad smiles and faces filled with a sense of marvel and pride. Well done, gang: Swimmers and support team on the beach!

Among the successful solos, Spanish long distance swimmer, Laura Lopez-Bonilla showed her strength and stamina during a challenging day on the water. Very early in the morning, she asked — half out of frustration — What does one have to do here to get a decent breakfast?” She was starving for eggs & ham. Lo and behold, instead of her next feed being the typical carbohydrate drink, Laura was served specially-made scrambled eggs in a cup. She says those were the “best ever tasting eggs”. Breakfast of champions!

Monica Bender became the most famous student at her school by swimming the Catalina Channel just under 10-hours. The 17-year-old senior at Mary Star of the Sea High School was greeted by a huge crowd of supporters. She powered her way under beautiful conditions. A few days later, she was back out on the water helping another swimmer get across. Well done Monica, and thanks for giving back to our open water swimming community. Grace and Elegance in action.

The “Triple Crown” of marathon swimming includes the English Channel, Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, and Catalina. That’s what brought Mariel Hawley to our shores. She became the first Mexican woman to accomplish the Triple Crown. Her support team and observer Anne Cleveland had experience like few others: All told, the team aboard her escort vessel had crossed the English Channel 13 times.

A couple of weeks ago, Jaimie Monahan of New York put in an impressive effort in crossing the Channel. Her team was fully prepared to celebrate. They decorated the boat and showered her with gifts and three pretty tiaras. Each one for her three “Triple Crown” marathon swims. Congratulations Jaimie, and we hope you’re able to join us at the annual banquet the first weekend of November.

ned denison 2012Last week, only a few days before he was to be inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, Ned Denison slipped into the Channel for a brief swim. The 54-year-old swimmer and Cork Ireland swim camp organizer breezed across in 8 hours and 50 minutes. His preparation and training was part of his success, but so was his incredible strength and stamina. Ned is one of the taller marathon swimmers in the water today, and still he maintains a stroke rate of 66 the entire way. No wonder he can blaze across so fast. It was a remarkable weekend for Ned: First a Catalina crossing, achieving the “Triple Crown”, followed by an induction into the IMSHoF.

Longest Solo Marathon Swim in Southern California

With Practically Zero Fanfare, Tina Neill Took to the Water for a 52-Mile Effort

Allow us to highlight the recent swim accomplishment of Tina Neill under the sanction of the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association. Tina made a 52-mile swim from San Clemente Island to Palos Verdes look relatively easy. She jumped in the water at the island early in the evening, kept a steady pace the entire time, skirted around the West End of Catalina Island, and in just under 29-hours Tina reached the mainland.

She is the first solo swimmer to make this crossing. By all accounts, this is the longest solo event (by miles) in Southern California marathon swimming history. Tina adds to her impressive list of crossings that she makes seemingly under-the-radar. Though her presence within the Catalina community does not go unrecognized: Her dedication to the Federation and support of Channel swimmers.

Of the 8 Channel Islands in Southern California, most of them are in the 20-mile range for a swim back to the mainland. San Clemente Island is second only to San Nicolas Island, which approaches 70-miles in distance. We can expect a massive celebration for Tina at the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association awards banquet, which happens is San Pedro a few hours following the CCSF banquet.

40 Years Ago in the Channel: Three Record Holders

Greta Andersen, Andy Taylor, & David Cox Made the Crossing and Set Records

The CCSF newsletter enjoys honoring the heroes who set the course years ago and whose wake every swimmer today follows.

Exactly 40 years ago, 1972 was a banner year for Catalina Channel swimming. Three record holders made the crossing. David Cox established a new course record by becoming the first to break the 9-hour barrier (and surpassing the long-standing time standard set by Tom Park). In 1972, Andy Taylor made his second crossing, just a year after he became the youngest Catalina swimmer at age 12. (This was before the CCSF was established and placed an age limit. Today, a swimmer must be at least 14 years old to make an attempt.) Finally, 40 years ago on October 6th, swimming legend Greta Andersen became the “Queen of the Catalina Channe” by making her 4th crossing.

All in the same year: The woman with the most crossings, the youngest male swimmer, and the fastest crossing. Two of those three records still stand today!

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