Kimberley Chambers is a 41-year-old open water swimmer from New Zealand living in the San Francisco Bay area. A former ballerina, she is a member of the Dolphin Club of San Francisco, the South End Rowing Club, North Bay Aquatics, and the Night Train Swimmers. The focus of her solo swims is to raise awareness and funds for the following causes: Warrior Canine Connection, Team Theo and The Free Morgan Foundation. She was nominated for the Halberg Awards’ High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year in 2015 and is one of the few people in history who has completed the Oceans Seven.
Open Water Swimming Career
Lake Tahoe in California on 5 August 2012 in 15 hours 30 minutes
Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand on 5 March 2012 in 8 hours 26 minutes
Chambers is a classically trained ballerina. She began dancing at the age of 2 years old and over the next 15 years practiced under the Royal Academy of Dance, competing and performing throughout New Zealand. Although she no longer dances she is qualified to teach ballet. While studying at the University of California at Berkeley, Chambers was recruited to the women’s freshman crew team. Chambers has been swimming for less than 4 years, discovering her passion for the sport while rehabilitating a life-threatening leg injury.
2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year Nomination
“Kimberley Chambers was 30 minutes from having her leg amputated after a traumatic fall down a flight of stairs. Nearly all hope had evaporated in the hospital, but destiny ultimately intervened. After her leg was saved, she took up swimming in order to avoid being disabled and unable to walk. After a difficult two-year rehabilitation period, she learned to love swimming and those in the sport. This year, she has blossomed in ways she could not have imagined before. She completed the Strait of Gibraltar in May, the Catalina Channel in July, and the English Channel in September en route towards her goal of achieving the Oceans Seven. For her optimistic view of life, for her deep sense of appreciation of her teammates and supporters, for her utter joy in the discovery of her vast potential, Kimberley Chambers is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.”
2014 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year Nomination
“From a near amputation to this year’s completion of the Oceans Seven, few swimmers in history have come back from such depths to stand atop the marathon swimming world. Kimberley Chambers, a former ballerina whose leg was minutes from being amputated, took to swimming for rehabilitation – not for marathon swimming glory. But she needed to prove to herself and her doctors that she could recover from a terrible leg injury by completing 7 difficult channels around the world including a jellyfish-strewn North Channelcrossing where she went into toxic shock. After years of struggle and sacrifice, the Kiwi living in San Francisco has transformed mindsets on what is truly possible in the open water. Personable, humble and profoundly eloquent, she is a role model in her rehabilitation and monumental swimming achievements. For her goal-setting mentality, for her laughter and motivational spirit, for her genuine willingness to share everything she has experienced along the way, Kimberley Chambers is a worthy nominee for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.”
2014 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year Nominees
Chambers successfully completed the 21.25 mile crossing of the length of Lake Tahoe on 5 August 2012 in 15 hours 30 minutes and 28 seconds to become the first New Zealander and the 26th person to complete the swim.
Cook Strait swim
On 5 March 2012, Chambers made a successful solo crossing of the Cook Strait. Swimming from the South Island to the North Island of New Zealand, Chambers completed the swim in 8 hours 26 minutes.
Chambers’ 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year nomination reads as follows:
Kimberley Chambers (New Zealand) Farallon Freestyler
Kimberley Chambers added another feat to her impressive, but unlikely, swimming resume when she became the first woman to swim from the Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge. The 38-year-old former ballerina’s 30-mile tenacious solo swim took an agonizing 17 hours 12 minutes that ended with Chambers in the hospital. For her drive to overcome severe dehydration and push her body to the deep abyss of discomfort and pain, for being the first women to tackle arguably the world’s most difficult channels, and for her unfailing courage despite the presence of the Great White Sharks, Kimberley Chambers’ Farallon Islands swim is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
Kim Swims is a documentary film about Kimberley Chambers improbable path to become one of the world’s most accomplished swimmers. The film was funded by 435 backers on Kickstarter who pledged US$36,379 to help bring the project to life.
Sacramento – San Francisco Swim
Chambers attempted the longest solo swim ever recorded in California, a 93-mile swim down the Sacramento River from Sacramento to San Francisco starting on 9 September 2016.