Held To A Higher Standard

Held To A Higher Standard

56-year-old Barbara Held broke the world record for the oldest woman to successfully cross the Catalina Channel in an incredibly fast time of 9:36 to enter the books in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

It was the second of three major marathon swims she did in 2010, each with their own challenges and beauty.

Barbara finished in 6:40 in the 9.6-mile Maui Channel Swim in tropical – but extremely rough – conditions. Earlier in the year in May, she also finished the 7.5K Cadiz Freedom Swim in Cape Town, South Africa, another rough, but much colder swim where she wore her red-white-and-blue swimsuit and finished 17th out of 128 swimmers.

After not being afforded opportunities to swim after high school, Barbara is enjoying her comeback in the open water. “It’s what we do, it’s what we know. The body wants it. Last summer I made the decision to do it. I didn’t know I would set a record.”

Similar to her Half Century Club counterpart in the English Channel, 65-year-old Sue Oldham, Barbara was resolute in her commitment to her goal. “I wasn’t going to not finish.”

During her Maui Channel Swim, the conditions were similarly rough, but her commitment never wavered. “I finished that’s all I’ll say. It took forever.”

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones
Steven Munatones