Catalina Channel

Catalina Channel Swim

A swim that starts in pitch darkness on Santa Catalina Island and ends on a rocky, and treacherous, beach west of Long Beach.  Jellyfish abound throughout, and the swimmer can anticipate the water temperature to fall from 70F to 60F during the last three miles of the Channel.


12 hours
41 minutes



We started a couple hours later than we had originally expected due to some calendar coordination, the result of which is that we hopped into the water at the Island about 12:45 a.m. on Thursday, September 27th. The water was 68 degrees most of the way, which was cool but very manageable. We had heard about the temperature drop in the final three miles, when the water temperature dropped to 62. Maybe because the change was so abrupt, or maybe because I was starting to run out of gas, but it felt a lot colder than that. I had done a series of calculations prior to the swim, and had expected that my time window would be between 10 and 13 hours, depending on conditions, and that the 21 mile swim would require about 30,000 strokes. As it turned out, conditions were perfect, and yet my time was at the upper end of the time window, and I took 36,719 strokes.
Doug McConnell
Executive Director