Relay Team Completes Commemorative Swim Across Catalina Channel

January 18, 2008 (PRLEAP.COM) Sports News
January 18, 2008 - Local amateur swim team “The Mermaids” joined with three “mermen” to swim across the 22-mile Catalina Channel from Cabrillo Beach (San Pedro, California) to Long Point (Catalina, California) on January 15, 2008. The distance was swum in 12 hours, 0 minutes, 40 seconds.

The six-person team for the mixed 3/3 relay included Alexia Nalewaik (Pasadena, California), Diana Corbin (Beltsville, Maryland), Don VanCleve (Culver City, California), Davina Walker (San Diego, California), David Palomino (La Jolla, California), and Greg Farrier (San Clemente, California). All six are established long-distance swimmers, with solo swims across the Catalina Channel, globe-trotting relays, and individual awards. The team was escorted during the swim by John Pittman’s boat and crew, and kayakers Don Rasky, Al Barret, Bob Brantley, Marie Humphrey, and Ralph Lufkin. Carol Sing was the official observer from the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation (CCSF).

Although Catalina crossings are typically swum between the months of July and September, when the water is significantly warmer, this team was well prepared for water temperatures that varied from 53 to 55.6 degrees. “It was cold, but the swim was super cool,” swimmer Diana Corbin added in an interview after the swim. In accordance with CCSF rules, each team member wore only a swimsuit, cap, goggles and earplugs. With very little wind and a nice sunny day, conditions were ideal for the crossing. The team was accompanied at times by marine life during the swim, including dolphins, sea lions, and large purple-striped jellyfish. However, the highlight of the day was a pod of fin whales that surfaced alongside the swimmers and around the boat for approximately two hours. According to swimmer David Palomino, “This is a swim that I will remember for the rest of my life.”

The relay commemorates the first successful Catalina Channel swim, 81 years ago. William Wrigley, Jr. sponsored a competition on January 15, 1927, with a $25,000 purse to the winner. Of the 102 swimmers who entered the race, only one entrant (George Young) completed the crossing. The 1927 Wrigley Ocean Marathon swim began a long history of Channel swimming in the United States.

The Mermaids swim team is a squad of eleven female swimmers from across the United States who excel at long-distance and cold water swimming. Their intent is to find interesting stretches of water to cross, some of which have never before been swum. The team members are amazing women between the ages of 23 and 55, who come from many different backgrounds and serve in many different roles: professionals, mothers, students, caregivers, volunteers, and more. Their example inspires others to seek challenges, set goals, grow personally & professionally, and be active.

Other events scheduled for the Mermaids this year include a relay from Coronado to La Jolla Cove in April, a relay from bridge to bridge in San Francisco in May, and a relay at Pennock Island, Alaska in August. The team trains daily, year-round, in La Jolla, California.

The Mermaids thank corporate sponsors Innova Kayak, Tyr Sport Inc., KINeSYS Performance Sunscreen, Powerbar Pria (Nestle USA), and Sephora USA Inc., for their generous support during this swim season.