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Saturday, November 10, 2018

Kim Chambers Inducted In International Marathon Swimming Hall Of Fame

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

"If it scares you, that is exactly why you should do it.

I’m talking about stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something, experiencing something, feeling something that you never thought possible.

It’s about challenging yourself not just physically but emotionally and spiritually. Something that reaches to the core of your soul, of who you are.

When you're willing to push the boundaries of what's possible, you'll find your best self right on the other side
."

This is how Kimberley Chambers of New Zealand talks about her challenges and accomplishments. Tonight in her adopted San Francisco, she will give the keynote speech at the 2018 WOWSA Awards.

This Saturday morning as she was surrounded by great swimmers from the United Nations Patron of the Oceans Lewis Pugh to fellow Oceans Seven swimmer Antonio Argüelles of Mexico, she was informed by Ned Denison, Chairman of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, that she has been inducted as an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Class of 2019.

Her road to be honored as an open water swimmer is unusual to say the least. Her road to become a member of the Dolphin Club of San Francisco, the South End Rowing Club, North Bay Aquatics, and the Night Train Swimmers was totally unexpected.

And her road to become an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame was simply not in the cards - until her leg was nearly amputated after an accident - one of several hospitalizations and near-death experiences she has faced in her adventurous life.

The 41-year-old Honoree explains her mindset, "Adventure allows me to realize previously unimaginable dreams. With each all-consuming journey towards that edge - a tantalizing boundary where my mind and body are truly challenged - my sense of self not only blossoms, it thrives.

Of course it is scary, but for me that is precisely the draw, because if it does not challenge you, it does not change you.

I still want to see how far I can go. I want to see if I can push that edge just a little bit further
."

A former ballerina going up on a sheep farm in New Zealand, she was recruited by the University of California Berkeley as a rower. After graduating, she stayed in the San Francisco Bay area and works for Adobe, one of Silicon Valley's most recognizable brands.

She got into swimming upon her rehabilitation from a near-amputation in her leg and soon became a member of the Dolphin Club of San Francisco, the South End Rowing Club, North Bay Aquatics, and the Night Train Swimmers.

Surrounded and egged on by her fellow swimmers, she started off in 2009 by swimming from Alcatraz Island to Aquatic Park in San Francisco Bay as part of her rehabilitation from Acute Compartment Syndrome. Eventually, she found herself completing the following swims and becoming the sixth person in history to complete the Oceans Seven:

* Lake Tahoe in California in 2012 in 15 hours 30 minutes
* Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand in 2012 in 8 hours 26 minutes
* Molokai Channel between Oahu and Molokai in Hawaii in 2012 in 19 hours 27 minutes
* Strait of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco in 2013 in 4 hours 39 minutes
* Catalina Channel from Santa Catalina Island to the California mainland in 2013 in 11 hours 26 minutes
* English Channel from England to France in 2013 in 12 hours 12 minutes
* Tsugaru Channel from Honshu to Hokkaido in Japan in 2014 in 9 hours 38 minutes
* North Channel from Northern Ireland to Scotland in 2014 in 13 hours 6 minutes [she was subsequently hospitalized for 7 days due to jellyfish stings]
* Farallons Island to Golden Gate Bridge in 2015 in 17 hours 12 minutes [first woman]
* Participated in myriad marathon swim relays with the Night Train Swimmers including a Farallon Islands relay in 2011, an English Channel relay, a Manhattan Island relay around, a 292 km San Francisco-to-Santa Barbara relay down the California coast that raised over US$1.2 million for Semper Fi Fund, and a Lake Powell record relay
* Participated in a number of cross-border tandem swims including a 16 km tandem swim across the Dead Sea between Jordan and Israel in 2016, and 7.9 km Pan-American Colibrí Swim (Nado Panamericano Colibrí) between Imperial Beach, California, USA and Tijuana, Mexico in 2017

Her accomplishments are numerous including being featured in a popular documentary film called KIM SWIMS produced by Kate Webber and raising funds for the Warrior Canine Connection, Team Theo and The Free Morgan Foundation.

She was nominated for the Halberg Awards' High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year in 2015 and the WOWSA Awards (2013 and 2014 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year and 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year nominee) and was named one of the 15 World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Women.

Chambers' speech at the WOWSA Awards delivered at The Olympic Club in San Francisco will be posted tomorrow.

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