California Triple Crown of Marathon Swimming

evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
edited August 2017 in General Discussion

Thanks to @VanMou's diligent work in compiling historic and recent Lake Tahoe swim data, it’s now possible to publish an authoritative list of the California Triple Crown of Marathon Swimming, hereby defined as successful unassisted swims of:

  • the Catalina Channel
  • the Santa Barbara Channel (cross-channel swims between any of Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, or San Miguel Islands and the mainland)
  • the lengthwise (North/South) axis of Lake Tahoe.

These three swims represent arguably the most significant solo marathon swims in California, in terms of history, current popularity, and reasonable accessibility to amateur marathon swimmers.

If you live in California and hate traveling, or don't want to wait 3 years for a good EC window, or aren't rich enough for the O7, this could be for you!

As of March 2017, three swimmers have completed the California Triple Crown:

  1. Kevin Murphy - completed 2007
  2. Dave Van Mouwerik - completed 2012
  3. Tina Neill - completed 2015

30 others have completed Catalina and Santa Barbara, but not yet Tahoe. 16 others have completed Tahoe and Catalina, but not Santa Barbara.

Full list here.



  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited March 2017

    A few follow-up notes:

    • To maximize accuracy, the California Triple Crown list is automatically built from the official results of the CCSF, SBCSA, and the spreadsheet compiled by @VanMou (who, along with @Reptile, are the de-facto Lake Tahoe Marathon Swimming sanctioning body).
    • The CCSF have not yet released official results for the 2016 season. Therefore, 2016 Catalina data are not yet completely reflected in the Calif. TC list (I have manually added a few names pending the CCSF data).
    • The exact parameters of a Lake Tahoe lengthwise swim route are still under consideration. There are a couple swims that are borderline due to the use of a shorter route.
    • I knew the Calif. Triple Crown was meant to be when I discovered the list begins with Kevin Murphy (!), Dave, and Tina Neill.
    • There are at least two scheduled contenders to finish the CTC in Lake Tahoe this summer...
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited June 2017

    Amy Appelhans Gubser of Pacifica, CA today became the 4th individual to complete the California Triple Crown of Marathon Swimming, with a crossing of the Santa Barbara Channel from Oxnard to Anacapa Island.

    • Length of Lake Tahoe - 14:35 on July 22, 2015.
    • Catalina Channel - 14:56 on Sept 22, 2016.
    • Santa Barbara Channel - 6:02 on June 23, 2017.

    Amy's swim is possibly also a record for the mainland-to-Anacapa direction. Unfortunately the SBCSA doesn't have the split time for Cindy Cleveland's 12 hour, 48 minute two-way in 1978.

  • Congratulations, Amy!!!!

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited August 2017

    Marcia Cleveland (of Dover Solo renown) is the 5th person to complete the California Triple Crown:

    • Catalina Channel - 8 hr 56 min on 2 Aug 2005
    • Santa Barbara Channel (Anacapa Island to mainland) - 6 hr 0 min on 23 July 2011
    • Lake Tahoe length - 11 hr 26 min on 29 Aug 2017

    Well swum, Marcia!

    Full list of California TC swimmers:

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited June 2018

    On September 25, Ryan Utsumi of Burlingame, Calif. became the sixth to complete the California Triple. Even more impressive, he completed all three swims in 67 days.

    • Lake Tahoe - 10 hr 36 min on 20 July
    • Santa Barbara Channel (Anacapa to mainland) - 5 hr 29 min on 21 August
    • Catalina - 11 hr 6 min on 25 September

    On October 28, Ken Mignosa of Santa Clara, Calif. became the seventh.

    • Lake Tahoe - 14 hr 38 min on 12 July
    • Catalina - 17 hr 18 min on 21 September
    • Santa Barbara Channel (mainland to Anacapa) - 9 hr 3 min on 28 October

    The CTC list will likely eclipse 10 swimmers by the end of this year. If you're a California local, this is a world-class challenge in your backyard. If you're elsewhere, maybe you've already done Catalina and are looking for an excuse to return.

    For Santa Barbara Channel swims, see or feel free to reach out to me.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin

    Yesterday Robin Rasmussen Rose became the 8th individual to complete the California Triple Crown:

    • Santa Barbara Channel - 9:39 on October 3, 2015
    • Lake Tahoe - 16:01 on July 2, 2017
    • Catalina Channel - 16:40 on June 22, 2018

    Robin also became the 170th individual to complete the Triple Crown.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin

    Congratulations @AnthonyMcCarley, the 9th person to complete the California Triple Crown.

    • Catalina Channel, 13:00 in July 2014
    • Santa Barbara Channel (Anacapa), 7:48 in October 2014
    • Lake Tahoe length, 14:00 in July 2018
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