Catalina Channel Swimming Federation Welcomes Youngest Swimmer to Complete the Swim

CATALINA— On Aug. 26, Margaret Rivard broke the record and became the youngest woman to swim the Catalina Channel. The previous record was set by Stacy Fresonke Juler of Seal Beach
in 1971.

Juler was 14 years and 132 days old when she swam the channel. Rivard is almost a month younger than Juler was at the time of the swim. According to the Facebook post from the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation, Rivard swam through the night in winds of 5 to 7 knots which increased to 8 to 10 knots by the end of her swim. Rivard was supported by her mom Darci DeBlois-Rivard, dad Kevin Rivard, and older sister Vera Rivard on the Bottom Scratcher.

Jax Cole and Monica Bender provided kayak support and CCSF President Forrest Nelson and Rebecca Nevitt were the official observers for the CCSF.

“Margaret swam strong and steady throughout the night,” said the Aug. 26 Facebook post. “She had winds of 5-7 knots which increased to 8-10 knots as she neared the end of her swim. The salt irritated her mouth and caused her lips and tongue to swell, and her throat to itch. Despite the discomfort, she continued her swim.”

The swim across the channel takes preparation participants are asked to receive a physical before their attempt across the channel and they have to complete an application at least 45 days before their chosen date.

The CCSF website recommends that swimmers train for cold open-water and unpredictable currents and compared the conditions to that of the English Channel.

The challenge generally starts in the evening and goes through the night ending the next day on the opposite shore.

The first swim across the channel was completed in 1927 by George Young, who won the first and only Wrigley Ocean Marathon in 15 hours 44 minutes, and 30 seconds.

The CCSF is a non-profit looking to promote interest in Catalina Channel Swimming by advising and promoting the safety of swimmers while recording and authenticating historical data.

To learn more, see https://swimcatalina.org/.

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