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Monday, July 2, 2012

Tsugaru Channel Heats Up In The Oceans Seven

Darren Miller and Stephen Redmond take their shot at the Tsugaru Channel next week.

For Redmond, this will be his third attempt. For Miller, it will be his visit to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Which is when he will be taking off from Tappi Misaki on the western peninsula of Aomori Prefecture on July 10th.

Pending favorable weather conditions, both men will attempt to cross the Tsugaru Channel between Honshu, the main island of Japan, and Hokkaido, the northernmost island in Japan. This will be Redmond's final Oceans Seven swim and Miller’s fifth channel swim out of seven.

Together with Penny Palfrey and Michelle Macy, the race is on to see who will be the first to conquer the Oceans Seven. Similar to the Seven Summits for mountaineers, the Oceans Seven challenge consists of open water swimmers vying to complete seven of the world’s most difficult channels. The channels consist of the English Channel, Catalina Channel, Molokai Channel, Strait of Gibraltar, Tsugaru Channel, North Channel and the Cook Strait.

Having already completed four of these swims, including the always harsh Molokai Channel in record time in 2011, anything can happen and any one of these front-runners can become the first to complete the Oceans Seven challenge first.

Unlike Miller’s last swim across the Strait of Gibraltar which he was accompanied by three open water swimming friends, Miller’s Tsugaru Channel attempt will be a solo swim effort. Miller’s brother, Matthew, will be tracking his real-time progress during the swim will be tracked by a SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger and updated on his Facebook page.

So far in 2012, there have been four attempts made at the Tsugaru Channel, but zero completions for the year. This swim can particularly difficult, as the water is known for being notoriously rough and fast-moving between the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean. The time frame for completion has ranged from six to 14 hours.

While Redmond enjoys the cooler waters of the coastlines around Ireland where 10°C (50°F) is considered balmy, Miller's challenge is that he has only been able to train in warm local waters in Keystone Lake in Derry, Pennsylvania. But they both have another logistical challenge - the language and location.

Located in the remote upper reaches of Japan where English is as common as a Starbucks, English speakers become very proficient in body language very quickly.

But coming off of a strong Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, Miller is expected to cross the channel in less than 10 hours. His next stop on the Oceans Seven map will be the Cook Strait in March 2013 while he enjoys the 26-mile Red River Swim in North Dakota and a crossing of the 20-mile Lake Tahoe in California in between.

Miller is swimming to benefit and raise awareness for Team Forever and the Forever Fund, a charitable foundation he played an integral role in establishing along with Cathy Cartieri Mehl and their families. The Forever Fund is dedicated to the memory of Mehl’s father, Anthony Frank Cartieri, and aids families in their struggle to afford the costs associated with infant cardiothoracic surgery that takes place in the cardiothoracic unit of UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Since 2009, Miller has raised close to US$50,000 for the Forever Fund together with the support of the Trustmont Financial Group, East Suburban Sports Medicine Center, 4CTechnologies and Elisco Advertising.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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