Just after midnight on Sunday, I finally landed my Catalina double. A proper write up and reflection will follow, but for now, here is the announcement from the CCSF. Huge thanks to my crew led by Helen, the observers and John Pittman’s boat crew.
Something very special happened on the Channel yesterday…actually started Friday
night…and ended early Sunday morning!
Jason Betley (UK, English Channel 2014) became one of a very select group of
swimmers to do a “lap” of the Channel…swimming from Mainland to Catalina, exiting the water to finish one leg (time: 11:53:15), then reentering and swimming back across
to the Mainland where he started!
This awesome feat had only been done previously by 7 people, and only twice in the
last 37 years!
Jason’s total time of 28:12:10 included almost everything (except water temp; it was a balmy 74F!) the Catalina Channel and Mother Nature can throw at a swimmer to test human limits and spirit, physically and mentally. Surface conditions were choppy, going against the W-SW swell, and currents shifting and swirling both ways across. He fought a current getting in to finish the first leg only to find when starting out on the second leg that the current shifted, and he was then going against an adverse
current again! The choppy surface conditions and afternoon winds on Saturday were continuous and it didn’t lay down until after sunset. And around that time, Jason’s shoulders were spent (“a pair of new shoulders”, he replied to crew after being asked if
there was anything he needed), and especially his left shoulder which was causing him
excruciating pain on every stroke. He was determined to finish and relied upon doing
breast stroke and right arm freestyle drill to keep moving forward. But, because there
was a cross current and doing those two strokes were not making enough forward
progress in a timely manner, he dug deep and started a regimen of painful freestyle,
counting strokes and laddering up by 5’s to 100+ and back down again. Physically
Jason was “broken”, as he said. But, with the help of his crew and everyone on board,
his spirit and motivation were continually buoyed and pushed just enough to keep him
going…painfully for every tick off the nautical mile decimal points to go. Finally…in the Sunday early morning hour, he approached a dark Terranea Cove, where he had started in the dark two calendar dates before, and he negotiated the rocky landing and surf/surge like the champion that he is!
CCSF congratulates Jason Betley for his monumental feat and showing us that with grit, determination and perseverance one can achieve well beyond one’s perceived
Rest well, Jason, and enjoy your accomplishment with your family and friends.
CCSF Double Crossings:
Greta Anderson, 1958
Penny Lee Dean, 1977
Cindy Cleveland, 1977
Dan Slosberg, 1978
John York, 1978
Tina Neill, 2008
Forrest Nelson, 2010
Jason Betley, 2015
Helen Gibbs, Crew Chief (exemplary job organizing and executing). (English Channel 2012; Catalina Channel 2014)
Bojan Obradovic, Deck Crew; Support Swimmer. (English Channel, 2015)
Dan Simonelli, Lead Kayaker; support swimmer. (Catalina Channel 2015)
Kevin Smith, Kayaker. (Catalina Channel 2015)
Don Van Cleve
John Pittman, Captain
Scott, 2nd pilot
Steve, deck crew
Mike, deck crew
Cami, galley service (keeping everyone well fed!)