Catherine Breed - Golden Gate Bridge to Half Moon Bay

Golden Gate Bridge to Half Moon Bay

40.6 km (25.2 miles)

12 hours, 21 minutes on 14 September 2022

Observed and documented by Anna Olsen




  • Name: Catherine Breed
  • Gender: female
  • Age on swim date: 29
  • Nationality: United States
  • Resides: Mill Valley, California

Support Personnel

  • Capt. Brent McLain - boat pilot
  • Dave Holscher - crew

Others pending…


Anna Olsen

Escort Vessel

Name Type Port
Hyperfish 38-ft Delta commercial dive boat Hyde Street Marina, San Francisco

Swim Parameters

Route Definition

  • Body of Water: Pacific Ocean
  • Route Type: one-way
  • Start Location: Golden Gate Bridge, near South Tower (37.813987, -122.478082)
  • Finish Location: Surfers Beach, Half Moon Bay (37.500497, -122.470221)
  • Minimum Route Distance: 40.6 km (25.2 miles) (map)


No known previous swims of this route.

Swim Data

  • Start: 14 September 2022, 04:10 (Pacific Daylight, America/Los_Angeles, UTC-7).
  • Finish: 14 September 2022, 16:31
  • Elapsed: 12 hours, 21 minutes.

Summary of Conditions

Feature Min Max
Water Temp (F) 55 60
Air Temp (F) 57 66
Wind (knots) 2 8

GPS Track

Trackpoint frequency: 20 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).

Click to expand map.

Speed Plot

Nutrition: Infinit Custom Blend, Honey Stinger gels and waffle. Every 30 minutes.

Observer Log

Download PDF

Swimmer Statement

These articles very much tell the narrative and is a good starting point. As I sit here writing my “why” my wrist is in sharp pain with every press of the keyboard, and I can’t help but have the moments of doubt of why did I do this? Does it matter?

The question has been answered in a resounding- yes it matters. I inspired a community and a community of not just swimmers. Surfers, sailors, fishermen, friends of the water people all came to see this woman (me) who swam 27miles, emerge from the water in Half Moon Bay.

It wasn’t the distance that made this swim unique it was all the other factors. The best time of year to swim it also happens to be during great white migration, the currents change quickly and dramatically, there are multiple microclimates, and not to mention the water can be quite cold and have temperature drops, and a good portion of the swim occurs in very deep dynamic water.

With all that, why did I want to do this? Because this ocean raised me and continues to teach me important life lessons. I grew up sailing this stretch with my family, watching the whale migration and having moments of bliss in an otherwise tumultuous and traumatizing childhood. In college I regained a relationship with my dad by learning how to surf in Pacifica. Once I finished pool swimming, I joined the Dolphin Club and I remember my first Golden Gate swim and being told, “make sure you look up”. As I pushed my surfing further, I started paddling out at OB and I met some of my now closest friends in that water. And most recently I am trying to surf Mavericks and that community welcomed me with open arms and guided me through my first times paddling out. I have helped teach surfing lessons at the beach I finished at. This swim passes many iconic places in Northern California, it was an absolutely gorgeous swim.

So, you see, this swim was not about swimming 27 miles it was about connecting various parts of my life from my past to my present. It was about the soul, if you do it with soul and passion, anything is possible.

The planning

David Holscher and I dreamed up this swim several years ago, but it always seemed too big, then in August 2021 after taking a year off post Monterey I was ready to tackle it. We chose a window and started talking about the route and the challenges. I kept it very close to my chest up until 2 weeks before because I knew there was a high failure rate.

Leading up to the swim my crew and I worked with Evan to make sure everything was done perfectly. And we had an emergency action plan that included the CHP, Coast Guard, BWRAG, and the Half Moon Bay Harbor Patrol.

The behind-the-scenes efforts that occurred to make this swim possible were extraordinary.

How did it go

Overall, the swim was exactly the journey I was looking for. We raised over $4000 for the marine mammal center and the outpouring of love and support was unprecedented.

Things that went well

  • Weather was gorgeous for 90% of it

  • No sharks

  • I had a great time

  • Best crew ever

  • Body surfed into the finish

Things that didn’t go well

-Fog and lots of ships at the beginning

-Kayak flipped which happens, I was able to continue slowly swimming with the jetski—this took about 3-5minutes to deal with so I only swam about 200yards, never out of sight. The kayak remained out of the water

-The temperature cooled to 55 which I was not expecting but I was ok

-Sore shoulder with some nerve pain, swam through it

-Original boat canceled Monday so I had to find another support vessel, I was very grateful to Brent and Lucas.


Click to enlarge.