Jim McConica Reminisces About His Swimming Career On WOWSA Live

Jim McConica Reminisces About His Swimming Career On WOWSA Live

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Ned Denison, chairperson of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, talked with Jim McConica on today’s WOWSA Live.

The 69-year-old from Ventura, California has set 117 U.S. Masters Swimming pool records, 30 relay records, 26 long distance records, and six long distance relay records. The Masters International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Swimmer is a lifetime member of the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation and the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association and remains one of the fastest swimmers across the Catalina Channel. He was a member of the Ventura Deep Six record-setting relay team that was honored as the 2010 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

During the interview, McConica talked about:

* training under Peter Daland at USC and several Olympic swimmers.
* winning the NCAA championships in the 200-yard freestyle during his sophomore year.
* beating the world record holder Mark Spitz on the lead-off of the 800-yard relay at the NCAA Championships.
* losing by tenth of a second at the Olympic Trials to qualify for the 1972 Munich Olympics, one of the few disappointments during his career.
* started masters swimming in his 30s.
* watching the ABC Wide World of Sports program and getting motivated to swim across Catalina Channel, eating Kit Kats along the way while hurting his shoulders in a 9 hour 8 minute crossing.
* setting the Catalina Channel record in 8 hours 27 minutes on his second attempt, breaking the existing record of 8 hours 33 minutes.
* swimming an 8 hour 35 minute crossing across a bumpy English Channel in 13.3-14.4°C water.
* participating in a Catalina Channel relay that set a record that lasted for decades.
* setting a 10,000m pool swimming record, holding a 1:15 per 100m pace in 50m pool as an older masters swimmer.
* hoping for a Great White Shark would take him out during his fourth Catalina Channel swim.
* being satisfied swimming 20 miles per week during the Covid-19 lockdown.
* completing an 11-mile swim aroundAnacapa Island this year.
* being happy for Karina Garcia who set an Anacapa Island record.
* being honored to meet swimmers like Penny Dean and Sarah Thomas.

McConica reminisced about some of his other pool swimming exploits with Denison:

Note 1: Jerry Heidenreich was the lead off swimmer – not Tom McBreen – on the record-setting American 800m freestyle relay at 1971 Pan American Games.

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Steven Munatones