On July 10, 2012, I had the pleasure and honor of assisting my friend Miquel Suñer, from Gerona, Spain, on his swim across the Catalina Channel in California. I was his official observer, representing the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation, and served double-duty as buddy swimmer for his last hour of swimming and “Victory Lap” into shore at the finish. Miquel made the swim look easy, even though we know it is not!
There was positive energy from the moment we all met on the docks at San Pedro to set off for Catalina Island and throughout Miquel’s swim… and the joyful celebration at his victorious finish was heartfelt. His crew of Bernat Serda and Lluis Suñer were some of the best I have had the chance to work with in the channel. From the kayak and the deck of the escort boat, Bernat and Lluis were with Miquel every stroke of the way and never took their eyes off him, even for a minute. My CCSF assistant observer, Alli DeFrancesco, radiated her calm and steadfast energy as she recorded the swim details and kayaker Dan Simonelli lent stalwart support from the water. We had videographers on board, as well… all of us cheering for Miquel as he swam to success.
Miquel finished his swim in the very fast time of 8 hours 11 minutes, narrowly missing the men’s world record by less than 5 minutes. This is the 3rd fastest men’s time and the 4th fastest time in history for a Catalina to mainland swim. Miquel swam steady and strong the whole way, holding a consistent pace throughout… until the end when he saw the finish and began to pick up his pace!
This is my favorite photo from Miquel’s swim… after a long, cold ocean swim (if you’re lucky) there is a “religious experience”… the LONG HOT SHOWER !!!
Here are Bernat, Miquel and Lluis jubilantly celebrating their well-deserved success.
I felt so proud to be a part of this amazing swim. Congratulations and well done to all !!!