CCSF Has So Much to Give, Offer and Share

CCSF Has So Much to Give, Offer and Share

Forrest Nelson, Becky Jackman, Don Van Cleve, and Paula Selby, board members of the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation (CCSF), gave a thoroughly comprehensive training and orientation program for new and veteran observers yesterday in Long Beach, California. It was its second program of the year after its first one held earlier in San Diego.

The CCSF is the channel swimming governing body in Southern California that governs, supports, promotes, and educates individuals about swimming across the 32.3 km Catalina Channel or 77.2 km around Catalina Island, and sanctions its escort pilots, observers, relays, and solo swimmers.

The sport and the organization has come a very long way – all for the good,” commented Steven Munatones. “I remember going to the old Marineland on Palos Verdes near the finish of the Catalina Channel crossings of John York and Cindy Cleveland in 1976 and Mary Beth Colpo, Syndi Goldenson, and Penny Dean in 1977 as a young age group swimmer. Their young coach at the time, Siga Rose née Albrecht, used to get all us young swimmers excited about this channel swimming heroes and heroines.”

Now Nelson, Jackman, Van Cleve, and Selby has long taken the mantle from Rose, Dean and York to carry on and expand the traditions of channel swimming in Southern California.

Munatones continued, “The information and advice that they all presented to newbie observers was extraordinarily valuable and well thought-out. It covered details from counting strokes and indications of hypothermia to presenting educational case studies and CPR and safety issues. Equipment, official documentation, dealing with DNF attempts and rules were part of the program. They were patient in answering a wide variety of questions. It was so professional and comprehensive – they literally covered everything and got everyone very excited about sitting in an escort boat to help document, ratify, and support channel swimmers. If I were a school teacher, they would have all received an A+.”

The new observers will be mentored by the CCSF board members and experienced observers for what will be one of the busiest crossing seasons in history.

The 2022 season was kicked off by Steve Stievenart of Wimereux, France who completed the first swim of the season in 13 hours 41 minutes on February 2nd (to complete a Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming). Stievenart will be back to attempt a two-way crossing of the Catalina Channel to go along with his English Channel two-way crossing and double circumnavigation swim of Manhattan Island. Stievenart was joined by Kevin Murphy, Frédérique Vandrepote, Kathy Batts, Patricio Libenson, Dan Simonelli, Don Van Cleve and John York (shown above).

For more information on the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation, visit

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Steven Munatones