Katie Benoit is an open-water swimmer with a goal of conquering the Ocean’s Seven, a feat achieved by only four swimmers to date.
The gauntlet includes: the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland, the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand, the Molokai Channel between Oahu and Molokai in Hawaii, the English Channel between England and France, the Catalina Channel between Catalina Island and Southern California, the Tsugaru Channel between the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido in Japan and the Strait of Gibraltar between Europe and Africa.
Benoit has already knocked out the triple crown of open water swimming, overcoming the Catalina Channel, the English Channel and the Molokai Channel. She has her eyes set on the Irish Channel next.
To help prepare for the channel, as well as the rest of her challenge, Benoit purchased an Endless Pool for distance training at the appropriate temperature she’ll be swimming. The full-time police officer will occasionally check in with training thoughts on the way to completing her goals.
"I have been swimming competitively since age 12-13. I was going to do synchronized swimming but accidentally showed up for the swim team. It was rough and not pretty. I just enjoyed the challenge and eventually the hard work paid off. Water's been home ever since.
"In my past life I competed at the Ironman Hawaii (and other long distance triathlons) and I remember seeing Endless Pools at the Ironman expo in Kona, Hawaii. I am not entirely certain which year...I remember thinking that that's what I would want if I won the lottery! A lot of athletes constantly juggle multiple demands. Family, work, and training can make for a very busy life. How neat to have access to great training right in your home, and what a priceless tool. What I didn't know at the time was there are affordable options and you don't have to win the lottery!
"A lot of distance swimming is a huge mind game. The English Channel is just really a big deal in distance swimming so I really wanted to make it. I had some issues with hip flexor cramps, probably because I took in too many calories and not enough water for the first few hours. That was something to recover from. I think the Endless Pool will help with this as now I find myself more often swimming for long periods of time, not interrupted by flip turns.
"So far, it's been an invaluable training tool. I swim quite a bit, roughly 30,000-70,000 yards a week, but that's actually not too much for a marathon swimmer as I emphasize quality over senseless yardage. At present I swim about 40-50% in my Endless Pool.
"I am currently training for the freezing cold waters of the Irish Channel and am keeping my Endless Pool at a chilly 59 degrees in an unheated garage. That's interfered with the enjoyment a little but it has been perfect training! It's the closest I can get to open water in the comfort of my home. I also work full-time as a police officer so if I had a rough night being able to sleep more and save the driving time and just hop right into my pool has been so valuable and helped me increase my yardage. I am working on different sets and training programs to keep things from getting boring and it's been great so far."