Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Back in the 1990s, four Americans swam the 3 km between the closest points between Bali (northernmost point on White Beach) to Java.

After two Americans crossed in 1996 in 2 hours, International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Swimmer David Yudovin had set the record in 1 hour 36 minutes in 1997. But then Monte Monfore made his first attempt at a charity swim for causes in July 1998.

It was to set off a decade of goodwill swims.

The then 37-year-old water polo player and ocean swimmer from Hanford California describes how he did it. “A sailor and a surfer advised to make the swim on the half moon as this would be the period of least tidal movement. I decided that the swim should be made before the windy season, but at a cool time when I would not experience body overheating. I estimated from Bali to the closest point on Java was 3 km and the swim would take 45 minutes to 90 minutes.”

But the currents pushed him unexpectedly further and faster than he anticipated. “The current was stronger than I anticipated and I ended up 6 km further south than I anticipated,” Monfore described. “While I swam the extra distance, I was assisted by the current.”

He sure was. Monfore swam between the two islands in 38 minutes. His rapid crossing set in place another decade of charity swims on a variety of causes.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association