Tom Hale, his daughter Faith, and their relay team of mostly Laguna Beach locals, expect to set off from Catalina Island tonight, Friday, Aug. 7, at 9 p.m. and start swimming for home.
In one to two hour shifts, they intend to cover 33.5 miles of open ocean and reach Main Beach by sundown on Saturday, Aug. 8.
Relay members of team 33.5 Miles Across the Sea include Roddy Teeple, Patsee Ober, Brett Rose and Lynn Kubasek. Captain John Pittman helms the team escort vessel, a crossing he’s made for over 150 Catalina Channel swims.
Local radio station KX 93.5 will provide updates of the swimmers’ progress, phoned in from the boat and broadcast live on air, said Monica Silva, the station’s development director.
Host Steve Reid also plans to interview Hale on his Sunday show, “Coast Shuffle.”
Hale’s desire is to gain a little recognition for his adopted hometown and accomplish an unusual father-daughter feat.
If successful, he thinks the team will be the first to make the crossing by ending in Laguna Beach, and Faith will be the first female lifeguard to swim from Catalina to Laguna.
The escort crew includes certified observers Catherine Coy and Dan Simonelli, who will ensure that Catalina Channel Swimming Federation rules are observed while keeping an eye out for native predators and oncoming boat traffic. Mid-channel, the swimmers must traverse a four mile-wide corridor for ships carrying cargo to San Pedro and Los Angeles harbors. Kayaks will paddle alongside the swimmers to monitor the currents and keep their eyes on the swimmers as well.
The team may actually cover 42 miles as they typically swim in arcs to counteract the southerly current, says Hale.
Many local businesses are sponsoring the trip and Hale says he intends to donate some proceeds to Schoolpower and the Laguna lifeguard department.