To become an official member of this exclusive club, you must swim continuously, without holding onto a boat for support, and without wearing a wetsuit. You are allowed pace swimmers and a GPS guided boat for navigation. Unfortunately, some of Kent's pace swimmers got sick on the boat ride and had to bow out of their duties. According to the Catalina Facebook page, Kent Nicholas, of Mesa Arizona, made the Catalina Channel look relatively simple. Smooth and strong swimming all night long, despite getting seasick on the boat ride out to the island, got him across in 10 hours 46 minutes. When he arrived in Palos Verdes (Friday Sept 9th), his parents, sister, and two young children were at the beach to greet him. His wife was part of the support team on the boat, featuring 2 kayakers and 4 companion swimmers.
|Kent, before THE SWIM!|
Here's Kent's modest account of his adventure:
My mom would challenge me to swim around sailboats moored in Mission Bay. It was scary. What monsters lurked below the bow of a sailboat or buoy? As I got older, swimming from Catalina Island to shore was something I wanted to do.
After training for months, I was all in with a support crew of six people. We started in the pitch dark from the island. I was sea sick on the way out. Minutes after entering the cold dark water, I could hear sounds that I never anticipated. I was keenly aware of my surroundings. I could see nothing except the glow stick of my pace swimmer.
I was told at one point that three of my crew members could no longer swim due to illness. I planned to swim the next two hours alone. Then three dolphin appeared. I could hear them. It was a friendly sound. I could see them. They swam below and in front of me. It was a wordless but meaningful and reassuring exchange. Things were alright. I finished and I was thankful.
Wow! Congratulations, Kent!