On Saturday, October 12, 2013, Jason Malick completed the 20+ mile crossing from Catalina to the mainland of San Pedro, California.
It's a swim only around 300 people have completed, and the Endless Pools Customer Support Specialist became the first Delaware native to cross the channel.
Read on for a recap of the swim in his words:
Upon arriving off the coast of Catalina and Doctor's Cove, I instructed my crew on feeds, logistics, and greased up (copious amounts of Vaseline to help primarily with chafing and hypothetically with some warmth/heat retention). For a swim to be legitimate a swimmer must only wear a pair of square cut shorts or speedos, a swim cap, and goggles...check!
As soon as I had glow sticks and grease on, I jumped into the dark waters and was guided to the shores of Catalina with one of my kayakers and a spotlight from the boat showing the way. After about five minutes, I landed on a rocky shore, turned a full 180, raised my hand indicating the start, and jumped in to officially start the swim at 11:45 PM (that's 2:45 EST).
The going was slow and steady as we were battling a current for much of the way. Night swimming is definitely something that takes getting used to but is thrilling as you really cannot see anything below you...it's just you, dark water, your crew, and the occasional sounds of nearby dolphins checking out who's swimming in their environment. After the first hour, I would feed and thereafter would feed every 1/2 hour. After a few hours I was feeling in the "element" and after three, I had my first buddy swimmer jump in for a half hour and swim alongside me.
At 6:30, with the smell of bacon and eggs lingering from the Galley, and the entrance of another buddy swimmer, we received a warm reception from about 50 dolphins...it was such a surreal experience and as the Pacific is much clearer than the Atlantic, you could see them doing their acrobatics and playing gleefully (or were they showing off?!?!). The boat captain advised that if I could hitch a ride from one of them to shore, it would totally count...try I did!!!
As we neared the coast, time passed very slowly as the head winds and currents picked up making it very challenging. The last seven miles seemed like an eternity! My kayakers and crew kept pushing me throughout the swim with the addition of knowing people from the Open Water Swimming Community, Endless Pools Family, and my family. After 15 Hours 11 Minutes and 32 Seconds, I hit the shores of San Pedro, CA and had a small celebration with my crew and the Delaware Flag as I was the first Delawarean to make the 20+ mile crossing.
To date, about 300 people have swum the Catalina Channel, the United State's version of the English Channel, and one of the three legs of the Open Water Swimming Triple Crown (English Channel and Manhattan Island Marathon Swim make up the other "jewels"). Hopefully, 2014 will see a continuation of the Triple Crown with a 28.5 mile swim around Manhattan and an English Channel Crossing in 2015.