Kate Steels is well known for her ice swimming achievements…for very good reasons.
- She is an Honor Swimmer in the Ice Swimming Hall of Fame Class of 2020.
- She serves as the Chairperson of International Ice Swimming Association Great Britain.
- She is on the board of directors of the International Ice Swimming Association.
- She became one of only three individuals in history (along with Jaimie Monahan and Ger Kennedy) to complete the Ice Sevens Challenge.
- She completed the Frosted Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming.
Her marathon swimming credentials are also impressive:
- She completed the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming.
- On November 13th 2022, she became the first person to complete a 14.4 km circumnavigation swim around Isla Coronado in Mexico finishing in 4 hours 1 minute.
- Exactly a year later on November 13th 2023, she became the first person to swim around Isla Danzante near Loreto on Mexico’s Baja California, finishing in 4 hours 42 minutes.
Steels knows very much how difficult harsh and challenging conditions can be in the open water, but she acknowledged the circumnavigation swim in the Loreto Bay National Park was a very tough one due to strong currents and nasty jellyfish. Sometimes, she ended up hugging the shoreline to escape the strong eddy currents. In the calmer turquoise waters, she was treated gorgeous views of thousands of beautiful tropical fish below her.
She explained the conditions she faced in a UNESCO marine park in the Sea of Cortez, “I knew it would be a challenging swim. Boat captains and dive Instructors all talk of strong currents and bizarre eddies. I found them all during this swim. The jellyfish were out in force. The high winds pushed them into main channels. I got stung all over.
The local harbor was shut and sea hadn’t settled fully when I started. It took a negotiation to launch the boat as mixed up communications from the Port Captain suggested the port wouldn’t open until 9:30 am. We wanted to launch before sunrise before the wind picks up again. Luckily, this was soon resolved as there were several boats all waiting to launch.“
Because no one had ever attempted this swim, there are no tidal flow charts. Steels said, “The locals do the ‘mop test’ to see which way current is flowing. Despite an outgoing tide, I found I had wind and waves behind me, but I was swimming into a current. Two headlands very sticky to get past.“
Her course was clockwise around Danzante Island. “It went from north to south with the east side first. A turtle swam past at the lighthouse on southern tip. It was wonderful [but] the west side had more big eddy currents. I had to hug the shore for a couple of the bays in beautiful calm turquoise waters while I was admiring the aquarium below.
For the last 1 hour 40 minutes, I was able to stay out really wide in the channel to save distance. It felt like I got a slight push.“
© 2023 Daily News of Open Water Swimming
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