The Update From The Pacific Ocean

The Update From The Pacific Ocean

As of 11:45 pm Pacific time on September 17th, after almost 42 hours of swimming, the Deep Six Ocean Relay team broke the existing world record with Jim Neitz in the water.

After pausing for a cheer from the deck of the Mother Ship (Pacific Monarch), Jim forged ahead once again, stating “I’ve got work to do.”

Jim McConica (shown above) then relieved him at midnight and onward they continued. They face thick foggy conditions and cold waters throughout the night, but the water has warmed up during the early morning hours.

Mike Shaffer said, “[With the warmer water], it is so much nicer to not be shaking violently when I get out of the water.”

After John Chung got out of the water, he summed up his ever-positive outlook and progress so far, “Things are great despite the water being cold and a few jellyfish to avoid, but it was good.”

The observers have been documenting the entire swim: a job made even harder by the large ocean swells. In fact, the waves have been so big that all of the hot tub water has been thrown onto the deck.

It took the six-man team almost 42 hours in the rough ocean to beat the existing non-wetsuit world record of 120K set in Lake Taupo that occurred in New Zealand where the women’s team, including Julie Bradshaw/Lucy Roper (England), Michelle Macy (USA), Barbara Pellick/Penny Palfrey (Australia) and Heather Osborn (New Zealand) took 33 hours and 33 minutes and the men’s team including Steve Junk/Chris Palfrey/Stephen Spence/Dougal Hunt (Australia) and Mark Cockroft (New Zealand) took 33 hours and 31 minutes to finish.

Some readers have commented that neither the Lake Taupo teams nor the Ventura Deep Six Relay teams hold the existing non-stop relay record that is correctly held by the Camlough (Ireland) Team for the world’s Longest Continuous Open Water Relay Swim.

We believe the Camlough Team is in a different category because they swam with more than six swimmers (220 members total) and swam with wetsuits. The 220 Camlough Team members collectively swam non-stop for 232 hours and 52 minutes (over 9 nights and 10 days) to traverse a total of 685.5K (426.5 miles) in northern Ireland in 2009. This is a remarkable record, but it is in a different category than a team limited to six members swimming under traditional English Channel rules of one-hour stints by each swimmer.

A Swimming World Morning Show TV interview is here. “Zero, in our minds,” said the team collectively when asked about the probability of not finishing.

Copyright © 2010 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones