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Sunday, September 2, 2012

When North And South Come Together, Possibilities Arise

East vs. west. North vs. South. Upstart vs. veteran. Male vs. female. Rivalries run rampant in any sporting community. But rivalries in the open water swimming world have a way to push individuals to step up their game and enable even more formidable accomplishments.

In California, two marathon swimming groups - the Ventura Deep Six in the south and the Night Train Swimmers in the north - dominate the ultra-marathon swimming niche in America. They have both gone to distances far beyond other relays.

The Night Train Swimmers have swum 55 hours straight in Lake Powell, between the Golden Gate Bridge and the Farallon Islands, and made two attempts to swim across the Sea of Cortez. Not to be outdone, the Ventura Deep Six swam 202 non-stop miles over the course of 4 days down the coast of California from Ventura to La Jolla.

The two teams are going to come together to attempt a world ocean relay swimming record. The SF to SB team plan to swim at least 545.5km from San Francisco to Santa Barbara over the course of 7-8 days of non-stop swimming off of the coast of California. A sense of camaraderie and cooperation overcame any feeling of competition.

Micro-beer brewer Phil Cutti heads the relay of six as they shove off from the Golden Gate Bridge. Then software executive Patti Bauernfeind, architect Dave Holscher, research analyst Joe Locke, software experience designer Kim Chambers and designer Zack Jirkovsky will take one-hour turns every 6 hours per English Channel relay rules.

Katie Green and Spanky Gibson will do the first few hundred ceremonial yards before the team of six start to tackle its non-wetsuit 339-mile (545.5km) relay down the California coast to Santa Barbara.

Like the Windermere 12-way Warriors and the Round Ireland Swim know from first-hand experience, the physiological demands of the relay will take its toll, but the inevitable psychological toll will only become bearable with an overriding sense of teamwork and camaraderie on the small boats in the large water. Couped up in small quarters with hourly dips every 6 hours for over a week straight, the sixsome piloted by Vito Bialla will have to place the overall mission ahead of their own desires.

Follow the California team here starting on September 23rd.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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