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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Darren Miller, Climbing Up The Charts

Darren Miller completed the Strait of Gibraltar in 3:42 together with Jen Schumacher, Oliver Wilkinson and Jamie Patrick yesterday to shoot up the Oceans Seven charts.

He is now tied for third in the overall rankings, only behind the legendary Irishman Stephen Redmond and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer Penny Palfrey of Australia.

With his Strait of Gibraltar swim added to his English Channel, Catalina Channel and Molokai Channel crossings, Miller is now on track to attempt the Tsugaru Channel in Japan sometime between July 10-12, the Cook Strait in March 2013 and then head over to attempt the final mountain to climb, the North Channel in August 2013.

Although it is unlikely, Miller does have a small outside chance to become the first person in the world to complete the Oceans Seven, but only if Redmond does not complete the Tsugaru Channel in June and Palfrey does not complete the North Channel in August this year. However, given the proven strength, stamina and determination of both Redmond and Palfrey, it is more likely that Miller will join his Irish and Australian colleagues at the top of the Ocean Seven summit by summer of next year.

His strategy of saving the most difficult channel for last - the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland - is similar to Palfrey. With each channel swim, Miller gets stronger both mentally and physically. His physical strengths and mental attitude will certainly be called to the test in the Cook Strait and the North Channel, two unpredictable waterways that will challenge the best that Miller has and has developed.

The Oceans Seven consists of the following waterways around the world:

1. North Channel between Ireland and Scotland
2. Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand
3. Moloka'i Channel between Oahu and Molokai Islands in Hawaii
4. English Channel between England and France
5. Catalina Channel in Southern California
6. Tsugaru Channel between the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido in Japan
7. Strait of Gibraltar between Europe and Africa

These athletes are closest to the elusive goal of the Oceans Seven:

1. Stephen Redmond (Ireland): English Channel, North Channel, Catalina Channel, Strait of Gibraltar, Cook Strait: 6 with 1 more to go (scheduled to cross the Tsugaru Channel in June 2012).
1. Penny Palfrey (Australia): English Channel, Strait of Gibraltar, Catalina Channel, Cook Strait, Molokai Channel, Tsugaru Channel: 6 with 1 more to go (scheduled to cross the North Channel in August 2012).
3. Darren Miller (USA): English Channel, Catalina Channel, Molokai Channel, Strait of Gibraltar: 4 with 3 more to go (Tsugaru Channel scheduled between 10-12 July 2012, Cook Strait for March 2013, and the North Channel for August 2013).
3. James Pittar (Australia): English Channel, Catalina Channel, Cook Strait and Strait of Gibraltar: 4 with 3 more to go (remaining schedule unannounced).
3. Kevin Murphy (England): English Channel, Catalina Channel, North Channel and Strait of Gibraltar: 4 with 3 more to go (remaining schedule unannounced)
3. Forrest Nelson (USA): English Channel, Catalina Channel (both ways and two-way), Molokai Channel (both ways) and Cook Strait: 4 with 3 more more to go (Tsugaru Channel scheduled for May 2012)
3. Bula Chowdhury Chakraborty (India): English Channel (twice), Catalina Channel, Cook Strait and Strait of Gibraltar: 4 with 3 more to go (remaining schedule unannounced).
3. Tom Hecker (USA): English Channel, Catalina Channel, Cook Strait and Strait of Gibraltar: 4 with 3 more to go (remaining schedule unannounced).
3. Pieter Christian Jongeneel Anderica (Spain): English Channel, Catalina Channel, Cook Strait and Strait of Gibraltar: 4 with 3 more to go (Molokai Channel scheduled for 2012).
3. T. Scott Coleman (USA): English Channel, Catalina Channel, Cook Strait and Strait of Gibraltar: 4 with 3 more to go.

Wilkerson explained his involvement and the crossing. "I had wanted to do the Strait of Gibraltar, but was too late to book a solo spot. When I heard Darren was booked in, I emailed him to ask if I could accompany him. Being the nice sociable guy, Darren agreed to let me come along. Jen and Jamie were also invited and Michelle Nelson and Kimberly Roth were keen to come and crew for him as well as squeeze in their own crossing.

We swam together as there was only one main support boat and a Zodiac for feed support. We had two practice swims in the days before to work out a basic sequence of swimmers based on which side we breathed on. Darren was on the far left as he breaths exclusively on the right, then Jen who breaths bilaterally. Then either me as I breath mostly left, but occasional bilaterally or Jamie who breaths exclusively on the left. The Zodiac was mostly on our right and the main boat was our sighting point so always ahead of us. No marine life was seen other than a lot of jellyfish and one turtle spotted on the return trip. Kim and Michelle both finished their solo swims in great efforts of 4 hours and 35 minutes."

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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