Sarah Thomas becomes tenth person to swim across Monterey Bay

Sarah Thomas – Monterey Bay

Sarah Thomas has become the 10th person in history to swim across Monterey Bay in California.

In rough conditions, the four-way English Channel swimmer swam the 25-miles from Harbor Beach in Santa Cruz to San Carlos Beach in Monterey in 15 hours 39 minutes.

Heavy swells and a strong current left Thomas nauseated for much of the swim, meaning that she struggled to keep down the food and water that she took on at feeds every 30 minutes.

"This swim lived up to its potential," Thomas wrote on Instagram after the swim. "I was right to be nervous, but we got it done under a beautiful full moon and only three jellyfish stings, which only hurt for a minute. That's what went right. I'll save the ugly pieces for later.

But we are all good and well and overjoyed to be back on dry land after 15:40 of rambunctious night swimming (unofficial time there, just my estimate).

The Monterey Bay swim is notorious for strong winds and rough conditions. The Monterey Bay Swimming Association advise that swimmers should hope for Force 1 or 2 winds during a crossing, but to prepare for Force 4 or 5.


Sarah writes a monthly column for Outdoor Swimmer magazine. To read, subscribe now and become a member of the Outdoor Swimmer Family

01 Cover October

Issue 54 October 2021

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  • Crowning Glory: Courtney Paulk’s historic Double Triple Crown
  • Cassie Patten: What is the best style front crawl stroke for the open water?
  • Access All Areas: The problem of making lidos more accessible to disabled swimmers

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