Costa Rican Daniel Vivero completed the Open Water Catalina Canal Challenge, one of the most difficult swimming tests due to the water conditions and because it takes place late at night, the only time when vessel traffic decreases.
Never before had a Central American completed the Catalina Canal, with the exception of a Guatemalan woman in 2011. The test was carried out between August 11th and 12th, crossing the 32.2 kilometers that link the island of Santa Catalina and the coast of Los Angeles in California. According to the Catalina Channel Swim Federation official page, to date only 574 people have crossed it in the 94 years that it has been held.
This test is one of the three that make up the Triple Crown, which in addition to the Catalina Channel, includes the Manhattan 20 Bridges that consists of swimming around the New York island and the English Channel (between England and France of 34km).
Vivero has already swam around Manhattan and only the English Channel remains to be the first Tico to obtain the Triple Crown and enter a select list of only 252 swimmers, according to the Marathon Swimming Federation database.
Narrated by Daniel Vivero
I started swimming at 10 p.m. from Santa Catalina Island to the coast of Los Angeles in waters with an average temperature of 18 degrees Celsius and in complete darkness.
By regulation I must swim without a wetsuit or any type of aid except a simple latex (or silicone) cap and swimming goggles. During my crossing I was able to swim with dolphins for a long distance of the route, as well as with two whales that stayed at a close distance, a seal and a spectacle of bioluminescent plankton that was present every time I stroked in the dark of night.
That said, not everything was rosy during my crossing since I started with nausea as a result of the boat trip that took me to the starting point on the island. During my first 10 km I vomited seven times and had to fight against the cold to avoid going into pre-hypothermia.
Despite all the challenges I faced, I was able to complete my swim in 11 hours, 19 minutes, exceeding the average time it takes to complete this crossing, which is approximately 12 and a half hours. I finished the crossing at 9 a.m. the next day, said the proud Tico.