Tough, Always Risky Outings On The High Seas

Tough, Always Risky Outings On The High Seas

Two veteran, highly trained marathon swimmers proved why completing a channel swim is always a tough, risk-taking adventure where nothing is a given despite the best well-laid plans and years of focused training.

Anne Cleveland started off confidently and calming stroking along before sunset last night in the Catalina Channel in 16°C (61-62°F) waters and 10-knot winds.

Occasionally accompanied by dolphin pods, Anne attempted a two-way crossing of the Catalina Channel, but was unexpectedly done in by severe leg cramps after three hours of setting off o a fast pace of 72-74 strokes per minute.

On the other side of the world at a higher latitude, Anne Marie Ward showed why the North (Irish) Channel remains one of the toughest marathon swims in the world. According to Martin Cullen’s report to the global marathon swimming community, Anne Marie put a crew together of experts on tide, weather, medical and boats and started around 10:15 pm, about 2 hours before low tide, from Ireland. Weather conditions were reportedly very good and the sea was flat and calm.

However, Anne Marie soon swam into a sea of jellyfish who stung her unmercifully and continuously for five straight hours in jellyfish until it was too much and the risk to AnnMarie’s well-being was too great.

Both women and their crews were obviously disappointed, but they all know the risks and obstacles of channel swimming. It is a difficult business and one that requires a real adventurer to take that first step off the shoreline.

Modern-day adventurers on the high seas, we salute you and your crews.

Upper photo by John York shows Anne Cleveland and her kayaker as they set off from the California coast. Lower photo shows Anne Marie Ward from her 2008 North Channel crossing.

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