The Changing Tides In The Catalina Channel

The Changing Tides In The Catalina Channel

The Changing Tides In The Catalina Channel

Sponsored by WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

With the growing popularity of channel swimming from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the volunteer organizations enabling individuals of all abilities to challenge themselves continue to evolve and improve over time.

A shining example is the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation that became an official non-profit organization (a 501(c)(3)) in 2007.

The Federation began to provide CPR and safety training for its Observers and any crew interested in supporting channel swimmers that year.

By the next year, the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation was in a position to staff all swims with a minimum of two Observers, enabling unparalleled focus on the swimmers throughout their attempts. The Federation also created written training manuals and established comprehensive training criteria for Assistant Observers who sought after the coveted Senior Observer status.

In 2009, Observer training was expanded to multiple locations (starting off in Los Angeles and San Diego) which enabled the pool of volunteers to grow yet again. Automatic External Defibrillators were provided to the two primary escort vessels as emergency measures while the Dottie York Scholarship Fund was established. Dottie, a wonderful women who was instrumental in founding the Federation in 1979, left a legacy that continues to this day. The Scholarship Fund named in her honor is awarded to swimmers who demonstrate both a dedication to completing a swim across the Catalina Channel and difficulty in meeting the financial requirements. It began granting scholarships in 2010 to qualified candidates.

As a multitude of individuals are training for the 2011 season, the Federation continues to add safety equipment to regularly used escort vessels. Additionally, Kayak Training is available in two locations as the Federation continues to strive to improve safety in open water swimming today and for the future.

Photo of Greg O’Connor in the Catalina Channel.

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