Simon completes swim feat
Samantha Simon of Janesville completed the 22-mile swim from Catalina Island to Long Beach, Calif., at approximately 8:40 a.m., Aug. 2, to become the youngest person on record to complete the triple crown of open-water marathon swimming.
"It was just me swimming," Simon said.
Simon, a 20-year-old University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minn.) distance swimmer and Craig High School graduate, successfully swam the English Channel in August 2009 and the Manhattan Island Marathon last month.
"I think I like swimming in salt water," Simon said. "The salt makes you more buoyant and my joints don't hurt as much."
Simon began her Catalina crossing around 11 p.m. Sunday, Aug 1. and reached Long Beach in 9 hours, 22 minutes to complete the triple crown. Simon's time ranks among the 15 fastest among women since Catalina became an event in 1922.
"It was warmer than the Channel," Simon said. "Nothing really bothered me. It was really about the same (as the English Channel)."
Simon made the crossing at night because the tide and winds are more favorable.
"The tide is stronger and it's very windy during the day," Simon said. "It gets calmer later at night."
Simon relied on a lighted boat, a kayaker and two volunteers in paddle boats to guide her through the night.
"I had a light on my head," Simon said. "It was a solid team effort."
Before reaching the shore, Simon said "huge seaweed" had to be cut away so she would not get tangled up.
"I had to get past seaweed and rocks to make it to the shore," Simon said.
Simon is the 13th American woman and the 37th person overall to successfully swim the triple crown. She also is the fourth athlete to accomplish the feat in a 12-month span.
Next up for Simon is a double crossing of the English Channel in 2012.