The first in a series of posts taking a statistical look at the history of Catalina Channel swimming. These analyses have not been validated or endorsed by the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation and should be considered “unofficial.” 2011 swims are included, but are unofficial until the ratification banquet on November 5. CCSF’s official list of successful swims is available here.
I should note that Penny Lee Dean did some similar statistical work in her authoritative History of the Catalina Channel Swims Since 1927. However, the book has not been updated in 1996, and in any case, the stats chapter seems to have been removed from the online version.
The Catalina Channel was first conquered in 1927 by George Young of Canada, in 15 hours, 44 minutes, 30 seconds. Since then (through September 2011) there have been 259 successful solo crossings by 220 individuals, including 7 double-crossings.
The short list of double-crossers includes some of the greatest marathon swimmers in history.
From the mainland (M-C-M):
- John York – 16:42 in 1978
- Dan Slosberg – 19:32 in 1978
- Tina Neill – 22:02 in 2008
- Cindy Cleveland – 24:30 in 1977
From Catalina (C-M-C):
- Penny Lee Dean – 20:03 in 1977
- Forrest Nelson – 23:01 in 2010
- Greta Anderson – 26:53 in 1958
Of the 252 one-way crossings, only 19 went from the mainland to Catalina (M-C).…