Catalina: Class of 2014



  • ttriventtriven Senior Member
    I am sending in my application today. Although it's good for me to know ahead of time that there may be more hurdles for me, I'm sorry that I learned this because of your disappointment, heart. Is there anything we can do to help you through the process? What is it about the qual swim that is undoable? Time? Not having access to a paddler? A witness? How can you break down these barriers? I am sure people on this forum can give you ideas of ways to get it done?

    One thing I have been thinking, is that I am applying to swim. And I assumed that meant I could be turned down. It's not a registration. I assume that means if I don't show enough experience, they could say no, or they might say they would reconsider if I show more experience. I would then call the pilot, and probably cry, they would be real tears of course, and hope the salty-haired guy would take pity on me and give me my deposit back, or apply it to next year.

    I also think that if I were an observer, I would want to make sure that most people who attempt are successful. Everyone has said that their observer was helpful. I know they have safety in mind. They also have to go out there and stay up all night. And what you get in return is their knowledge and as much of a safety net as they can provide. And, your name in the books! (ok, not everybody cares about that but I think it's kind of cool.)

    Personally I want to do this officially. Even if they pull me because I can't remember my name. I am a mom, so if I am pushing myself too far, I want someone there to say time out. I am also a wife and a daughter and a sister and an auntie, so if I am putting myself in danger, I want to know.

    My biggest hurdle is I do get a little loopy out there when I swim long, and it might be hard for someone to tell if I am in stage 2 hypothermia, or just loopy. Today I led my lane through a 5000 yard set that had a lot of changing times and required me adding a lot of odd numbers together, and telling people in the lane what was coming up. A couple of times I got completely lost. After all my training, when I am in the channel, I might get pulled because they think I am too cold, when I might just be stupid...

    That said, I will def be doing a 6 hr training swim. And at some point a 9 or 10 hr swim followed by a 3 or 4 hour swim within 24 hours. To see if I can still say my name. If not, I might have to try it again...
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited March 2014
    CCSF President Forrest Nelson passed along the following message:

    CCSF encourages swimmers and supporters to utilize the MSF in sharing their wisdom and their experiences in the Catalina Channel.
    Inquiries with respect to CCSF policies & procedures are best directed to with additional resources at

    I also agreed to append this message to the original post in the thread, for the benefit of newcomers to the Forum.
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    edited March 2014
    @ttriven: Best luck to you on your Catalina endeavor, and I hope it's everything you hoped for. The last thing I want is for my disappointment and distress to rub off people whose priorities and values about this swim are different than mine, and I see a lot of logic in what you say. I simply feel differently.

    I know putting in a lot of yards, including ten-hour sets, works wonders for a lot of people. I am not one of those people. My physical restrictions (shoulder; disc) and busy career mean that I have to train smarter, not harder. I've done long swims in cold temperatures (albeit not 60 degrees, even though I doubt I'll encounter 60 degrees in late August in Catalina given that the water temperature as I type this, in early March, is reported to be 61.7) and, being familiar with what my body and my mind can take in the months before the swim, putting together a ten-hour cold water enterprise more than three months before the event simply does not work for my training plan, my health, my mental readiness and my commitments to my professional career and my family. My coach, who has known me for three years and who has put together season plans for me for two long races, has already created a plan for me for this season. That plan does not include a long enterprise requiring kayaks, observers, fireworks and cold water as my semester wraps up and in the middle of conference season, just as my book is being prepared for publication.

    But even assuming that a ten-hour swim at 60 degrees is a great idea, I would have liked to be told about it ahead of time. It would, of course, be better to have such a requirement, which is a big commitment, apply to all swimmers, rather than have CCSF plow into the bios of swimmers they are not familiar with and make judgment calls about their athletic prowess that reasonable adults are good at making for themselves. This is not a matter of compromise or logistics; it's simply a matter of due process, reliance and expectation.
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    edited March 2014
    One more comment on this: I don't perceive the application process as "applying to swim." The sea belongs to everyone. The sharks and oarfish don't need anyone's permission to roam the Catalina channel. The application is to swim under a sanctioning body's set of rules and benefit from the official recognition (and those things, of course, are valuable and important for many; I'm not dissing that at all). I have to remember, beyond my personal disappointment, why I'm doing this in the first place, and the only genuine answer for that is my own sense of pleasure, constant improvement, and accomplishment. No one can give me that, and no one can take it away from me.
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member
    Just curious is there any particular benefit to getting the application process out of the way earlier (apart from the application fee discount)?

    I was planning on getting my medical signed off at my annual physical which I can't do until May 12th (last years was May 9th and I only get one covered a year under my insurance). Swim is not until August 16th so my 60 day window to get the application in is June 17th or thereabouts.

    Not the end of the world if I have to schedule an earlier visit, but prefer to not rack up unnecessary medical fees if there aren't benefits :-) - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • ttriventtriven Senior Member
    Are you sure you have to wait until may 9? My calendar year starts jan 1. I get THREE whole dr visits a year (total) starting jan 1. But here's the thing. After May 1, the CCSF fee goes up $250. After I exceed my dr visits, I pay a portion of the "agreed" fee. Since my doctor is in network, she can only charge about $86 for the visit, and then I have to pay some portion of that. So, I would go to the dr before May 1 regardless. Your situation may be different - it depends on when your insurance calendar yr starts, etc.
  • LynnkubLynnkub Charter Mem​ber
    I have been hearing from folks planning Catalina Swims on FB who are having "difficulties" with the submissions. I won't go into detail, however I contacted Forrest Nelson (CCSF president) with some of the issues that have crossed my inbox and he said:

    "why not send this person, and any future persons, my email address that they can "speak to the manager"... in a sense, but we're all working together.
    It's important to listen to what swimmers have to say and be given an opportunity to address their concerns.
    thank you"

    Additionally, Forrest is a great sounding board. He mentored me before my swim and provided valuable mental images for consideration.

    If you have any concerns with the CCSF application process and any feedback you are receiving, please email Forrest at: forrestn at earthlink dot net

    Good luck to everyone this year!
    (OMG...the water is 63F right now? pinch me!)
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    Thanks, @lynnkub - email just went out to Forrest. The fact that the temperatures are so favorable now makes me even more upset about the 60-degree-10-hour qualifying swim. But I'm going to leave all of this behind me and am making alternative plans for my season, so I can celebrate my 40th birthday doing the sport I love without bitterness or disappointment.

    On that vein, if there's a prospective applicant who wants August 30 as their crossing date and wants to swim with the Outrider, please message me.
  • ttriventtriven Senior Member
    Heart, I am so grateful that you started the thread and shared your experience. I'm moving forward with my attempt. There will be struggles. If anyone else is attempting, please chime in. I'm currently chasing cold water, so if the weather keeps up, you may find me at Aquatic Park soon. Can anyone tell me where I can find 60 degree water in Southern California?
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member
    edited March 2014
    @ttriven - Just curious, do you have to do a sub 60F qualifying swim as well?

    Aquatic Park was 56F on the weekend (with perhaps some colder patches). It seems like we are having a warm year, it might be hard for the SF crew to even find sub 60F water fairly soon... - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member
    Coronado is usually a bit cooler.
  • suziedodssuziedods Mem​ber
    Just general history, no actual data but historically Aquatic Park sits at 55/56 til about Mother's Day.. scoots towards 57 til about mid June... hovers around 58/59 til August and then we can sit around 60/61 for a while.
    It used to be a rarity to go up to 60, but last year we actually had temps of 63 early September. I don't think it will be difficult to get a 16C swim in unless you are trying to do so mid- September.
    That' just AP temps... outside the cove it can get a titch warmer.. and in the south bay and the north bay as well. Nothing approaching 65( 18C)

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach

  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member
    I've come to the conclusion that my training volume is not where I wanted it to be at this point (thanks work!) so it is looking like Catalina is going to have to be a 2015 endeavor for me :(

    May have to look at Anacapa though... :) - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • CliffCliff Member
    Random advice leading up to your swim...
    1) get plenty of sleep and rest.
    2) eat the day before like it's your last day on earth.
    3) continuously hydrate but don't overdue it. Stay comfortable.
    4) get to the beach and swim a little to loosen up and get acclimated.
    5) scopolamine patch does a nice job of mitigating the effects of motion sickness.
    6) if you feel stressed out, smile and crack a joke or two.
    7) take a final inventory of your swim stuff the day before. Missing anything?

    Random advice during your swim...
    1) feed with the same feeds, drinks and food you trained on, and nothing else.
    2) if you get sick, deal with it by swimming. You'll feel better.
    3) yes, two kayakers are better than one - especially when your first paddler capsizes and the crew must stop to assist, and you keep swimming because you're concerned about your finish time and you know the boat and kayaker will eventually catch up to you but then you learn later the current pulled you off-course by 500 yards or more. ;)
    4) always listen for dolphins even though there's a good chance they're mocking your "swimming" ability.
    5) wear ear plugs. I use the soft silicone "plunger" variety from Mack's. Muffles the overbearing sound of your stroke so you can discern subtle sounds in the environment you're in. Keeps the cold water out of your ear canal.
    6) only wear a watch if, unlike me, you're disciplined enough not to look at it every 5 minutes to see if 30 minutes is up.
    7) bring and use mouthwash to mitigate the swelling effects and taste of ocean water. Also helpful if you have that chance face-to-face encounter with a dolphin. Nobody wants to make a bad first impression.

    Have fun and best of luck!

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member
    Sage advice, @Cliff :-)
  • Leonard_JansenLeonard_Jansen Charter Member
    Cliff wrote:
    Random advice leading up to your swim...
    5) scopolamine patch does a nice job of mitigating the effects of motion sickness.

    All good advice, but definately try the scopolamine patch beforehand. Some people, like me, have a tough time with it. Dizziness and a mouth so dry I can hardly swallow. Ginger capsules if scopolamine doesn't do it for you.


    “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde

  • helengheleng Hertfordshire, EnglandMember
    Good luck to my fellow Catalina Channel aspirants of 2014, wishing you calm seas and successful swims :-)

    I will be following your progress nervously throughout the season before I step up to the mark in October.
  • @Dan S. - My understanding is the Outrider limit is 10 not 11.

    @ Heart - I am sorry for your frustration and hope Forrest was able to help you out with some good advice.

    @Frank See you out there in a few weeks & don't worry about the night swim - it's the fun part :-)

    @everyone - feel free to reach out to us on the posted links about kayak/crew support questions
  • DocScottDocScott Redwood City, CaliforniaMember
    My Catalina Channel swim is scheduled for Sept. 13th, and I am using the Outrider. I have a couple of logistical questions:
    1. What is the best local hotel (nothing fancy needed) for me and my crew to stay that is close to the marina where the Outrider is located? Or does anyone know a small vrbo home/condo?
    2. Local Kayak renter/loaner close to the Outrider? Looking for a basic sit-on-top kayak.
    Any other suggestions on pre or post swim logistics? I'm traveling from Northern California and plan to arrive 4 days prior to the swim.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    Hi @DocScott.
    DocScott wrote:
    What is the best local hotel (nothing fancy needed) for me and my crew to stay that is close to the marina where the Outrider is located?
    Doubletree San Pedro (as mentioned earlier in this thread).
    DocScott wrote:
    Local Kayak renter/loaner close to the Outrider? Looking for a basic sit-on-top kayak.
    Naples or Hermosa will probably be the closest locations, so unless you have a method of transporting the kayak, that's not going to be very convenient.

    A better bet would be to submit a request to the support crew network organized by Gracie & Neil (also mentioned earlier in this thread). If you don't need an actual kayaker, someone may be willing to rent you their kayak & deliver it.
    DocScott wrote:
    Any other suggestions on pre or post swim logistics?
    Cabrillo Beach is a good place for a swim / loosen, and it's walking distance from the Doubletree.

    Best of luck with the swim!
  • NeilEugeneNeilEugene Member
    edited July 2014
    Here are some places you can maybe call if you have no luck with local support folks who would be willing to loan equipment, but I'm not sure what the "drive away" policies are since I've never used these outlets personally:

    Xstreamline: (This place is in San Pedro and very close to the boat dock)

    Dana Point Jetski: (This place is about an hour from San Pedro)

    Sport Chalet: (Long Beach & Torrance)

    If no luck with overnight rental - try Sports Authority
    Buy a kayak for $250 - $350 and donate it after you leave if you come from far. Again, this is only if you strike out with no hope of support from the local community due to work or other obligations. Worst case, this will set you back as much as about the amount you would have had to donate or pay for some expenses of the local kayakers supporting you.

    These kayaks are cheap (as low as $250), and $340 model comes with paddle, PFD, and is big enough to handle a swimmer on the back afterwards (short distance) as well as ample room for feeds and stuff behind the seat:


  • DocScottDocScott Redwood City, CaliforniaMember
    Thanks for the info! Looking forward to a great swim. Good luck to all in the Catalina Class of 2014.
  • Thanks to Tim Donovan for pointing this out (for Catalina swimmers bringing their own kayakers): OEX will rent for Catalina crossings @ approximately $80 - pricing likely negotiated up front ...
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