Dr. Steven Minaglia completed his channel swim across the Catalina Channel. For the extraordinarily busy physician and professor who can only train in the warm waters of Honolulu, his challenge to prepare and complete channel swims are more than most.
While his recent Tsugaru Channel attempt in northern Japan was cancelled due to high winds even before his started, the good doctor faced the opposite conditions on the eastern edges of the Pacific Ocean.
“The conditions were fantastic for the first two-thirds of the channel and typical of the last third,” he explains. “The water temperature by the island was 72ºF and stayed that way for most of the swim. Near San Pedro [on the California mainland], it got a bit cold, but the sun was out by then and the view was invigorating. What excited me the most was to see the plot of the course: I basically kept a 3,500-meter per hour pace throughout the swim. It certainly was the most steady and persistent swim that I can recall.
I made a few mistakes along the way: I ate on the boat right before the swim and then proceeded to eat and drink a lot for the first 3 feeds, done every 20 minutes. This led to some severe vomiting that occurred just about 2 hours into the swim. It happened again about 2 hours later. After that, I drank a few ounces of gatorade or water, every 20 minutes, for the rest of the swim.
I was surprised I could swim so long with little to nothing to eat or drink. I continued to make urine and considered this an indicator to continue swimming.”
He ultimately finished in 10 hours 1 minute and defined his swim in the context of competition under the guidance of Captain Greg Elliot swimming alongside his kayakers and the Bottom Scratcher. “Channel swimming, for me, has been about competing with nature and myself. For that one night [on the Catalina Channel], the spirit of competition was tangible.”
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