PHOENIX, Arizona, September 20. AT 11:50 a.m. Pacific time today, the Ventura Deep Six Relay Team completed their 202-mile swim down the southern California coastline when team member Jim Neitz stepped foot on the shores of the La Jolla Cove to the cheers of fans and supporters.
The remaining members of the team — Jim McConica, Kurtis Baron, John Chung, Mike Shaffer and Tom Ball — swam behind Neitz for the final leg, and all six touched ground for the first time since they began their quest at 6:03 a.m. Thursday from Ventura.
Each member swam for one hour before handing off the duties to the next swimmer, similar to the rules required for relay swims in the English Channel or Catalina Channel. Also, the swimmers are not allowed to wear wetsuits in order for the swim to be officially recognized as a FINA world record. According to various reports, a member of FINA was with the crew to verify the swim. The final length of the relay swim will be determined shortly, but the six definitely surpassed the previous world record of 78.2 statute miles, set last year by two teams in a New Zealand lake.
The team faced very few obstacles on the way to La Jolla. No sharks were spotted, and a couple of the swimmers received only tiny nibbles on their toes from curious fish while schools of dolphins escorted them at various times. The hot tub aboard the main boat, which was used to help raise core temperatures after swimming in 60-degree water, broke down on Friday night for 24 hours. And communication between the mainland and the boat was lost for a few hours on Saturday, but was restored by Sunday afternoon.
Read the crew's updates on their Facebook page.
If you missed our Morning Swim Show pre-swim interview with all six members of the Ventura team, you can see it in the video player below or on SwimmingWorld.TV.