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Thursday, September 8, 2016

93 Miles Of Giving Back By Kimberley Chambers

Courtesy of Kimberley Chambers, Night Train Swimmers, northern California.

Kimberley Chambers, a member of Night Train Swimmers, will attempt the longest solo swim in California. The swim, that commemorates the 15th Anniversary of 9/11, will begin in Sacramento on September 9th and end in Belvedere on September 11th, totaling 93 miles (149.6 km) over the course of nearly 50 hours.

Chambers will utilize the Sacramento River and Steamboat Slough as she travels toward the bay, ending at the point of Tiburon. Night Train and Chambers are proudly teaming up with Warrior Canine Connection in an attempt to support recovering Veterans and their families.

This is her story:

"It is hard for me to believe that another aquatic adventure is right around the corner...

Tomorrow afternoon, September 9th at 2 pm [San Francisco time], I will begin my 93-mile journey from Sacramento to Tiburon (just near San Francisco, California). Following traditional English Channel swimming rules, I will swim non-stop for over 45 hours wearing a regular swimsuit, regular swim cap, goggles and earplugs. I will not have any physical contact with my crew or my support boat and kayak. This means I will not sleep or rest until I am done.

I have trained extensively for the mileage and the sleep deprivation [see description here], and now I am in the hands of Mother Nature, fate, and my incredible Night Train Swimmers team who will shepherd me down the river. If I am successful, this will be by far my longest swim ever, truly taking my mind and body through uncharted waters. I am told to expect hallucinations on the second night.

All of this is tremendously scary for me, but I am a firm believer that if you think you can’t do something, or if you are afraid of doing something, that is exactly when you should do it.

Many people have asked me why have I chosen this particular swim?

Why put such effort and hard work into another swim when I have already had the privilege of swimming around the world completing the Oceans Seven, and most recently a solo crossing from the Farallon Islands back here in San Francisco? I guess it is fair to say I have had more than my share of swims. And along the way, I have been blessed with worldwide publicity.

I feel fundamentally compelled to use this attention and goodwill to help others. For there is something truly special when you put your mind and body on the line for others. And I am fortunate to be a part of a team of like-minded individuals called Night Train Swimmers. Every year we select a charity or two to raise funds and awareness for. I proudly serve on the Advisory Board of Warrior Canine Connection, a pioneering organization that uses canine connection therapy to help veterans and service members suffering from post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury reconnect with their lives and their families. And I have been waiting for the right opportunity to highlight this cause through my swimming.

I am doing this swim to honor all who have served and suffered greatly as a result. Specifically, those who have returned seemingly physically whole, but are faced with the invisible wounds of war, most notably post traumatic stress.

I am doing this swim to honor my late grandfather, who volunteered for World War II, spending 4.5 years away from his fiancée (my late grandmother) fighting in the East Africa campaign. I remember staying with my grandparents as a young child and waking up in the middle of the night to the sounds of his terrible nightmares. Back then there was no formal recognition of post traumatic stress. Yet in many ways I think living on a farm surrounded by animals saved my grandfather. A devoted animal lover, he was my role model, my cheerleader and my friend who taught me so much about what is important in life. He was a firm believer in giving back. The values about life which he exemplified so honorably and consistently were gifted to me with unending love. My promise to him is to demonstrate this for as long as I live. And so while he is no longer with me, he is within me.

Many of my close friends here in the United Sates are veterans and service members. This swim is a unique opportunity for me to honor each of them and to create meaning out of my own commitment to a cause that is dear to my heart.

Politics simply do not matter. It about compassion for others, and knowing that we - as a community, a nation, a world - have a duty to help each other, however we can. Indeed, this is about giving back. Significantly there would not be a family in America that is not affected either directly or indirectly by the services veterans provide on our behalf, and the enduring struggle they face as they rebuild their lives and try to reintegrate back into civilian life.

I am well aware that the struggle I will face in the 45-hour duration of my swim pales into insignificance as compared to their own struggles on a daily basis.

If you are able to donate to my swim you can do that here. Any donation would be greatly appreciated. If you are unable to donate, please help me spread the word about my swim and Warrior Canine Connection by sharing this note.

Lastly, I would be most grateful if you could follow my swim at your convenience (45 hours is a long time). Knowing that you are all watching will give me more strength than you could ever imagine, particularly when I have to push through the many difficult periods during my swim

Follow Chambers live here. The GPS will not turn on until shortly before she begins her swim.

kimberleyfchambers on Facebook
KimSwims blog

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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