With a goal to raise lots of money for the Navy SEAL Foundation, six swimmers from California, including the daughter of a Navy SEAL, will complete 228-mile (367 km) relay from Point Conception to San Diego along the California coastline.
The Night Train Swimmers, a non-profit organization that raises funds through open water swims, announced on Friday its team of six swimmers who will attempt to break the world record by swimming from Point Conception to San Diego.
The ocean swim is planned for August 23rd with the goal of eclipsing the existing world relay distance record by at least 20 miles. The Night Train Swimmers have raised over US$1.3 million dollars with just 3 swims in the English Channel, Lake Powell in California, and its Farallon Islands relay swim.
“Night Train has a long history of raising money for deserving organizations. We are proud to partner with the Navy SEAL Foundation for this swim, and to finish on the shores of their headquarters at Coronado Island,” said Vito Bialla, captain of the relay and a decorated Vietnam veteran himself. “Supporting our wounded soldiers and their families is a great honor.”
The relay team consists of an experienced group of cold water swimmers who can all handle the estimated 4-day non-stop ocean swim: Phil Cutti, David Holscher, Zach Jirkovsky, Luane Rowe, Blair Cannon, and Grace van der Byl.
This group has collectively completed hundreds of rough water swims including the English Channel, among two of the fastest Catalina Channel solo swims in history, and a Farallon Islands relay. In addition, two famed Medal of Honor recipients will accompany the swimmers in the water as they come up to the finish at Coronado Island in San Diego: Mike Thornton, the most decorated Navy SEAL in history, and Senator Bob Kerrey, the former Governor of Nebraska and a war veteran.
Van Der Byl, whose father was also a Navy SEAL and a prisoner-of-war during the Vietnam War, said, “To be a part of this relay, for this cause, is the greatest honor I could have as a swimmer and a daughter.” Van Der Byl recently broke the world record for the 21-mile Catalina Channel crossing (from Catalina Island to the California mainland) in 7 hours 27 minutes.
Concurrently, Mike Trevino and David Goggins will run along the California coast and complete solo runs of over 300 miles from Point Conception to San Diego in order to greet the swimmers when they land on shore. Trevino has won the prestigious 135-mile Badwater Race through Death Valley and Goggins is a Navy SEAL and world record holder for most pull-ups done in 24 hours at 4,030.
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