Kim Chambers has become the first woman to complete one of the sport’s scariest swims: the 30-mile crossing between the Farralon Islands and the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco. The swim is described as: “Like the English Channel, but colder, rougher and with sharks.” Only four people had previously completed the crossing.
Chambers completed the 17-hour swim under Channel rules: traditional swimming costume, goggles, one cap. But one thing the swim doesn’t have in common with the Channel is the wildlife: the elephant seals that live off the Farralon Islands attract large numbers of hungry great white sharks.
“People think I’m crazy because there are sharks but that’s why I’m doing it,” Chambers told the San Francisco Chronicle. “That’s their habitat and they should be there. I think they’re magnificent creatures.”
Chambers’ swim follows Simon Dominguez’s aborted reverse crossing last week. Although the swim was scheduled for when the great white shark population was at its lowest, Dominguez was only three miles from land when a great white shark was spotted and he was forced to retire for safety reasons.
Chambers, from New Zealand, is a former ballerina who nearly lost her leg before turning to swimming for rehabilitation. She is the third woman to complete the Oceans Seven challenge.