More good stuff from Penny Dean’s history of Catalina Channel swimming. Here’s the story of Myrtle Huddlestone, who in February 1927 became the first woman to cross the Channel [emphasis added]:
Huddlestone, a 30 year old widow from Long Beach, had only begun swimming during the preceding year to lose weight. She had been motivated to enter the Wrigley Ocean Marathon in order to pay for her son’s education.
Her swim was far from routine. Beginning at 2:30 p.m., Huddlestone encountered one problem after another. Fog appeared after midnight and the lights on both support boats went out. Unable to see the boats, she drifted off and for three hours she was lost. During this time she was attacked by a barracuda. She received bites and cuts on the left side of her body.
USA Swimming just released the qualifying times for the 2011 open-water national championships in Fort Myers, FL (h/t Adam B.).
And, the standards for the 5K are surprisingly doable! 9:08 for 800m or 17:29 for 1500m? I think even I could do these times with a decent taper behind me…?
In order to compete in the USA Swimming 2011 Open Water Championships, a swimmer must have:
- Finished in the top 15 at a 2010-11 FINA World Cup Race, or
- Finished in the top 10 at the 2010 USA Swimming 5K or 10K National Championships, or
- Attended the 2011 Open Water Developmental Camp (by invitation only), or
- Achieved the following pool times standard(s) between April 1, 2009 and the entry deadline
1500 LCM 800 LCM 1650 SCY 1000 SCY
Women 5K Race Qualifying Times 18:20.89 9:35.99 17:57.39 10:43.19
Men 5K Race Qualifying Times 17:29.89 9:08.99 16:59.39 10:10.99
Women 10K Race Qualifying Times 17:20.49 9:03.49 16:48.49 10:05.99
Men 10K Race Qualifying Times 16:15.49 8:35.59 15:51.49 9:26.09
- Athletes who meet these times standards will be permitted to enter the Open Water National Championships.
I want to congratulate my friend and fellow Point swimmer Ruth-Anne on completing the Ironman Cozumel in 16 hours 46 minutes. As an orthopedically challenged swim specialist, I can’t even begin to imagine tackling a 112-mile bike ride and a marathon run… after a 2.4-mile swim.
We open water swimmers occasionally rag on our tri friends for their neoprene fixation, but Ironmen and women are a special breed of endurance athlete. Not to mention, Ruth-Anne continued swimming in Lake Michigan sans-wetsuit through mid-November – longer than me by over a month.
Her triumph in the face of adversity (16 hours 46 minutes!) is captured in a wonderful blog post.…
Gertrude Ederle was one of the greatest swimmers of her time, and a founding queen of marathon swimming. In 1926, she was the first woman to cross the English Channel, in 14 hours 39 minutes – almost 2 hours faster than any man had done it. This feat earned her a ticker-tape parade in New York City, her hometown.
I’ve been reading Penny Lee Dean‘s wonderful history of Catalina Channel swimming, in which Ederle makes a notable appearance. Though Ederle never attempted a Catalina swim, the first successful crossing (in 1927) was directly inspired by her success in the English Channel.
William Wrigley, Jr. (of Wrigley chewing gum), seeing an opportunity to promote tourism on Catalina Island (in which he owned a controlling interest), offered Ederle $10,000 to become the first person to swim across the channel between Avalon and the San Pedro peninsula.…
I mentioned in my tentative 2011 race schedule that I was contemplating a date with the Catalina Channel in the late summer. That date is now set: August 25, 2011.
My support crew (tbd) and I will leave the Port of Long Beach aboard Capt. Greg Elliott’s Bottom Scratcher (what a fantastic name for a boat) around 8:30pm on the 24th. Upon reaching the northwest end of Catalina Island at Doctor’s Point, my swim will begin around midnight. I will swim at a NNE-erly bearing until I reach the San Pedro Peninsula on the California mainland, 20 miles away. If conditions and luck are favorable, I should stumble onto the beach near Rancho Palos Verdes, just SE of Pt. Vicente lighthouse, between 8 and 9am.…
For those who have ever wondered, in the dead of winter after so many laps in the concrete prison, “What’s it like in Hawaii today?” — a new blog feature! Behold: a dashboard of current water temperatures at a few select locations where marathon swimming has been known to occur.
One surprising (to me) fact gleaned from today’s data: the English Channel is a mere 55F right now… in late November!
You can access the dashboard through the following link or through the “Marathon Swimming” menu at top:
Freshwater Swimmer: Comparative Water Temperatures…
I do my dryland training at the University of Chicago’s Ratner Center. As it happens, the gym shares a roof with a very nice 50m x 25y pool. So, for efficiency’s sake I usually combine my weightlifting sessions with a swim.
A question thus arises: Lift first, or swim first?
I’ve heard different theories on this. Those who endorse lifting first say you’re more likely to injure yourself when you’re tired, and thus lifting after a tiring swim session can be dangerous. Some also say a post-lift swim session allows them to “stretch out” their muscles and reduce later soreness. The most interesting argument I’ve heard is that even a brief lifting session can produce muscle fatigue equivalent to (or greater than) a full swim session.…
Another interesting post on the Channel Swimmers chat group from Ned Denison (member of the MIMS selection committee), describing some of the unique challenges of MIMS compared to other famous marathon swims (e.g., English Channel):
… [snippet - see chat group for full post]
Somebody referred to MIMS as the “weak sister” of the three events. Be careful… We all know that every open water swim is different and that the same open water swim is different every year, month, day, hour and minute. A daylight EC swim in August with hot sun, warm calm water, no wind and perfect timing to land on the CAP is very different from – what most of us got or will get.
So – there are some things about MIMS that are usually a bit easier that the EC and Catalina.
What’s a marathon swim? Distance is how it’s typically defined – any swim 10K or longer. Another indicator? If you need high-level satellite imagery to view the course map.
Saturday, April 9, 2011 – Nike Swim Miami – Miami, FL – 10K
Saturday, April 23 – Tampa Bay Marathon Swim – Tampa, FL – 24 miles
Saturday, June 18 – Manhattan Island Marathon Swim – New York, NY – 28.5 miles
Saturday, July 9 – Kingdom Swim – Newport, VT – 10 miles
Saturday, August 13 – Boston Light Swim – Boston, MA – 8 miles
Here in Chicago, the trees are gradually defoliating, and the Parks Department finally removed the buoys from our beloved cove south of Promontory Point… which can only mean one thing: Time to start filling in the 2011 Open Water Calendar! In 2010 I attended 12 events (some with multiple races) over 6 months. Eight of these involved air travel. That’s a race (at least) every other week on average. It was super fun, but not so conducive to peak performance. My ‘A’ races – supposedly, the Noblesville 10K and the Big Shoulders 5K – turned into ‘B+’ races because of the near-constant disruption of training.
As for next year, let there be no doubt: MIMS is the ‘A’ race – the main course. Everything else is either aperitif or digestif.…