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It has been my pleasure to serve you...

After 8 years as serving as SBCSA’s president, it is time for me to say good bye. Effective December 1st, I will step down and Evan Morrison will take over as the SBCSA’s president.

It has been my honor to serve marathon swimmers and to hopefully, have contributed to the interest, growth and unification of traditional marathon swimming. If I made a small difference, then it was all worthwhile. I am grateful to have worked alongside an amazing board of directors, and that together, we successfully called attention to the swimming possibilities among all the California Channel Islands.

I have met many wonderful people in this sport….some who will remain lifelong friends. My intention was always to give to marathon swimming, but on so many levels, I was the one who received.

The 2016 banquet will be my last as a board member, but hopefully future banquets lie ahead for me as a swimmer.

As former Presidential candidate Ben Carson once said, “Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.” To this end, I plan to spend time supporting a passion which is assisting children with cancer……so there is a good chance you have not heard the last from me.

Happy traditional marathon swimming and may God bless you!

Posted by Scott Zornig on 27 October 2016 | permalink

October Successes - Hank Wise and Russ Parker

On Oct 9th, Hank Wise (age 48) of Huntington Beach, CA swam from Anacapa Island to Oxnard in 4 hours, 56 minutes, 54 seconds (observed by Dave Van Mouwerik). This is the second-fastest Anacapa-mainland swim of all-time and only 19 minutes off the record set by Jim McConica back in 2012. Congratulations Hank!

On October 26th, Russ Parker (age 59) from Laguna Niguel, CA, swam from Anacapa to mainland in 10 hours and 42 minutes. Russ finished south of Point Hueneme due to a strong current. His swim (observed by Cherie Edborg) was the 67th crossing since Cindy Cleveland first did it in 1978.

Hank Wise

Russ Parker

New Lifetime Members: Carol Sing and David Barra

Marathon swimming legends Carol Sing (left) and David Barra (right) are SBCSA’s newest lifetime members. They become 55th and 56th members of a generous collection of people who support marathon swimming and the SBCSA.

Posted by SBCSA on 27 October 2016 | permalink

The Formation of the SBCSA - A brief history

In 1999, shortly after completing my one and only swim from Catalina Island, I approached John York and David Clark about recognizing swims off all 8 of the California Channel Islands. The two of them were singlehandedly running the CCSF and had their hands full. John told me that he would be happy to keep records of channel island swims, but they did not have the time to officiate these swims and simultaneously run the CCSF. They wanted to focus on Catalina which I completely understood.

In 2001, I decided to train for an Anacapa solo swim. It had not been attempted in 11 years so as part of the training, I spent considerable time researching previous swims and speaking with any former swimmer I could track down. I thought this information might increase my chance of success while providing confidence for my swim. I needed to get my head right prior to the attempt.

My research yielded 3 successful solos swims from Anacapa (Cindy Cleveland 1978, David Yudovin 1982 and Suzanne Riedinger 1990). I discovered two successful swims from Santa Cruz Island (David Yudovin 1983 and Ashby Harper 1984) along with a few successful relays. I also uncovered several unsuccessful attempts. With this information, I became the unofficial historian for the non-Catalina California Channel Island swims.

The idea of a sister organization to the CCSF fell on a back burner until 2006 when I heard about a gentleman from Santa Barbara who had founded the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association to recognize swims to and from Santa Cruz Island. His name was Emilio Casanueva, a Chilean, who resided in Santa Barbara. I was introduced to him and his business partner, Dean White, by Jim Fitzpatrick in 2007. We met at Brophy’s restaurant in Santa Barbara and I mentioned to them the idea of a marathon swim organization that recognized swims from ALL the non-Catalina California Channel Islands (Anacapa, Santa Cruz, San Clemente, Santa Barbara, San Miguel, Santa Rosa and San Nicolas). I informed Emilio and Dean that I had done the research and had all the records. They liked the idea, realized that I could be a resource for observations and recognized my passion for the sport, so they asked me to join their board which also included notable marathon swimmers Ned Denison, Carina Brewer, Penny Palfrey and Chris Palfrey amongst others.

There were no solo attempts of any island between 2001 and 2005, but after forming the SBCSA, there were 2 successful solo swims in 2006, 6 successful solo swims in 2007 and 9 successful solo swims in 2008. There were also 12 successful relays during these first 3 years. The Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association was off and running or should I say “swimming” strong.

Late in 2008, Emilio fell ill and resigned from the board of directors. He had assembled an international board of high profile marathon swimmers which was great for marketing purposes. This diverse make up of board members worked as Emilio and Dean did 90% of the observations and I did the remaining 10%. Dean also owned a small boat which was used for some of the early crossings. Unfortunately, with Emilio’s departure, it left Dean and myself as the only two board members who lived in California that could observe. I agreed to take over as President, but I felt the only way our organization could survive was to increase the number of seats on the board and add locals who were available to observe and share the responsibility of running the SBCSA. Most of our international board elected to leave for the health of the SBCSA and were replaced by today’s current board of directors which now includes Evan Morrison, Dave Van Mouwerik, Jane Cairns, Cherie Edborg, Lynn Kubasek, Theo Schmeeckle, Peter Hayden and Tanya MacLean.

The SBCSA is now 10 years old and under Evan Morrison’s leadership, positioned to serve marathon swimmers for the next 10 years and beyond.

This picture may be the SBCSA’s first “official” board meeting on Oct 8, 2008. It is hard to believe, but we were operating without insurance back then.

Pictured left to right: Scott Zornig, Claire Fackler, Emilio Casanueva, Ned Denison, Penny Palfrey, Seth Streeter, Nick Caine, Chris Palfrey
Not pictured: Megan Miley, Dean White, and Carina Brewer.

Posted by Scott Zornig on 27 October 2016 | permalink

September Successes

The SBCSA congratulates Rachel G. Horn (age 31) who swam 12.2 miles on September 17th from Anacapa Island to Oxnard in 6 hours, 54 minutes, 39 seconds. Observer Jane Cairns reported the conditions were "beautiful." A large gathering of supporters greeted Rachel on Silver Strand Beach.

Peter Lofquist (age 55) of Mesa, AZ conquered the swim from Anacapa Island to Oxnard in 7 hours, 14 minutes, 6 seconds on September 24th. He became the 53rd person to conquer the channel. Peter’s swim was observed by Dave Van Mouwerik.

Finally, congratulations to Jim Cherry (age 60) of Ojai who became the 54th person to swim Anacapa having completed the crossing in 7 hours, 5 min and 34 seconds. Jim’s swim was observed by Theo Schmeeckle.

Rachel Horn

Peter Lofquist

Annual Banquet & Cruise - Saturday, November 5th in San Pedro

The 2016 Banquet is set. Once again, we will be honoring our 2016 swimmers aboard the 90’ Spirit yacht with a dinner and cruise in San Pedro harbor. Please mark your calendars for Saturday evening, November 5th!

Tickets are $64, or $52 for SBCSA lifetime members. Please RSVP by October 31, via PayPal or by sending a personal check and the names of your party to:

Scott Zornig 1 Rockrose Ct Coto de Caza, CA 92679


Chilled Jumbo Shrimp, Scored Crab Claws & Legs, Norwegian Smoked Salmon, Marinated Steak Skewers, Sesame Chicken Skewers, Charbroiled Vegetable Skewers, Swedish Meatballs, Steamed Rice, Caesar Green Salad, Garden Fresh Vegetables & Dips, Gourmet Assorted Cheese Cakes.

And did we forget to mention? Unlimited white wine and margaritas.

Posted by SBCSA on 5 October 2016 | permalink

Out, Around, & Back

We congratulate Anthony McCarley, Dave Van Mouwerik, Asha Allen, Becky Margulies, Dan Simonelli, and Scott Zacharda who found success in the first swim of the 2016 season. Team "Out, Around, & Back" completed the first known relay from Catalina to Santa Barbara Island - 24.4 miles against the prevailing current in 16:01 (in 2014, the Laguna Six swam in the opposite direction).

Upon completing the inter-island swim, the sextet of accomplished marathon swimmers weren't done swimming: They swam around Santa Barbara Island, thus completing the first known relay circumnavigation of SBI: 5+ miles in 3:06.

New Lifetime Members

Elizabeth Fry (Westport, CT) and Gary King (Simi Valley, CA) are the SBCSA’s newest lifetime members. They become the 51st and 52nd members of a special group who generously support the SBCSA and marathon swimming. Lifetime Members (apply here) receive benefits including:

  • $100 discount on all solo sanction fees.
  • $50 discount on relay sanction fees (the discount is additive if a relay team includes multiple SBCSA lifetime members).
  • 25% discount on the annual banquet.
  • An introduction at the annual banquet.
  • Name recognition in various SBCSA publications.
  • The satisfaction of supporting an organization that works hard to promote safe, traditional, environmentally conscious marathon swimming in the California Channel Islands.

Thank you, Liz and Gary!

Did You Know?

Over 150 endemic, or unique, species found nowhere else in the world, including the quick-to-endear island fox, have earned the Channel Islands their nickname as the Galapagos of North America.

The largest breeding colonies of seabirds in southern California are found on the Channel Islands

Fossils composing the most complete pygmy mammoth skeleton ever discovered were found on Santa Rosa Island, where they roamed the island before the last ice age.

Posted by SBCSA on 3 August 2016 | permalink

Chartering a Boat for Your Marathon Swim

Aside from training, hiring a boat and captain is one of the most important aspects of a marathon swim. In the 20 years I have been involved in marathon swimming, I have seen at least a half dozen swims derailed, called or canceled due to a poorly written charter agreement that protected only the charter and was subject to interpretation. A well drafted agreement will protect both parties and leave nothing to chance. In my opinion, such an agreement should include:

  • Exact dates and times of the charter
  • Total hours charter provides (dock to dock)
  • Total fees and any additional fees for exceeding allotted hours
  • Options available if allotted hours are exceeded
  • Start time
  • Anticipated finish time
  • Hour of day when boat must return to dock
  • Swim route
  • List of meals provided by boat (if any)
  • Number of captains (remember, if a swim is going to be 12 hours or more dock to dock, maritime rules require a second captain to be on board)
  • Total number of passengers allowed on boat including swimmer and observer(s)
  • Charter rules and any penalties for breaking them
  • Options or contingency plans due to inclement weather or un-swimmable conditions

A charter agreement should never get in the way of a successful swim. The swimmer, charter company and boat captain can eliminate all misunderstandings and have a document to reference should the need arise with a properly executed contract.

Posted by Scott Zornig on 3 August 2016 | permalink

The Swimmer's Biopedia

What every marathon swimmer should give to every person on their support team

By Scott Zornig

I was a member of a support crew for Forrest Nelson (CCSF President) many years ago. As I boarded the boat for his attempted swim, he handed me a laminated paper. He explained to me that it was his “Swim Bible.” It was an “everything you need to know” document about Forrest, his swimming and his health. It included his desires and wishes and was full of useful information for his attempted swim. He said he was given the idea from Penny Palfrey and has used it on every marathon swim since.

I thought this was a wonderful document to share with a support crew so I adopted it myself. I call my paper a “Biopedia and give it to every person who boards the vessel. I believe providing this information to my observer and support crew is the courteous and smart thing to do. I would encourage every marathon swimmer to do the same. It is one thing to verbally communicate your vitals and desires to your crew, but it is so much better for them to have a document to refer to throughout the swim.

I believe the document should constantly evolve and contain useful information such as:


  • Is the feeding administered from the side of the boat or a kayaker?
  • How should the feeding be delivered?
  • How often are the feedings?
  • What type of food will be served?
  • Should the food be served hot or cold?
  • Should the feedings include any pain medicine?
  • Do you have any “pick me up” treats and how often should they be offered?
  • Under what circumstances do you want your support crew to deviate?
  • How long should your feedings take?
  • Do you have any mixing instructions?

Support Swimmers

  • Do you want support swimmers?
  • What side should they swim on?
  • How far behind you should they be positioned?
  • In the event you are slowing down, do you want the support swimmer swimming breast stroke or one arm freestyle for example?
  • Do you have a time schedule for support swimmers in order of speed (i.e., fast to slow)?
  • If a support swimmer is clearly irritating you, do you want them removed from the water?


  • Do you want a Kayaker?
  • Where should the Kayaker be positioned?
  • How do you want the transition between Kayakers to take place?

The Swim

  • How long is the swim?
  • What is your estimate for time of completion?
  • What are the predicted currents, water temperature, wind and weather the day of your swim?
  • What side of the boat do you wish to be positioned on?
  • What is your stroke rate during hours 0 to 5? 6 to 7? 8 to 10?
  • Do you want signals which reveal useful information to you?
  • What type of information should be shared and withheld from you?


  • Are you swimming across a shipping lane?
  • Will your swim be taking place in a dangerous area?
  • Is there a heavy seal population at the start or finish?
  • Do you have a backup plan in the event the swim you are doing is not going to work on the day you selected (I know several swimmers, myself included, who have improvised the day of their swim and found a different swim to do)?
  • Are there any conditions forecasted that everyone should be made aware of (i.e., big surf, tides currents etc.)?
  • Is the swim a dry, touch or water start?
  • If a predator is seen, what is your protocol?


  • Where will the swim start and where will it finish?
  • What is the distance?


  • Do you want distance communicated to you in nautical or statute miles?
  • Do you wish to be told distances completed, distances to go or nothing at all?

Odds and Ends

  • Do you have specific rules for your support team (i.e., are you ok if they point to the water for example)?
  • What is your typical demeanor during a swim (i.e., are you a happy or angry swimmer)?
  • Do you want to know specific information during your swim (i.e., what is the water temperature or how far you have left to go)?
  • Do you want to know good news? Bad news? Both? None?


  • Do you have any health issues? If so, what are they?

Emergency contact info

  • Who should be contacted in the event of an emergency?
  • What are their phone numbers and emails?

This is a small sample of useful detail for everyone on board the vessel. Remember, your safety is the number 1 priority and sharing this information can help not only have a safe swim, but also a successful swim. Feel free to build your own “Biopedia.”

Posted by Scott Zornig on 5 July 2016 | permalink

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