Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Abigail Bergman (Smith College, Class of 2018), Rebecca Nevitt (Wellesley College, Class of 1988), Eliza Cummings (Smith College, Class of 2017), Cathleen Pruden (Mount Holyoke College, Class of 2016), Gabriela Kovacikova (Wellesley College, Class of 2014), and Charlotte Samuels (Smith College, Class of 2020), completed their 40.4-mile (65 km) two-way crossing of the Catalina Channel in Southern California, starting on June 16th.

It was the first all-female relay double crossing of the Catalina Channel in history. Escorted by an all-female kayak crew of Jax Cole, Alicia Bartley, Heather Barber, and Melissa King, they finished the first leg from the mainland to Catalina Island in 8 hours 16 minutes and the return leg to the mainland in 9 hours 48 minutes for a 18 hour 4 minute two-way crossing.

Bergman explained to Swimming World Magazine, “We are swimming across the Catalina Channel in both directions [mainland-Santa Catalina Island-mainland], as a statement of teamwork and empowerment for women everywhere. I am really excited to use this event to showcase how women can come together to do something we love and accomplish an extreme goal.”

The women are either student-athletes or marathon swimming graduates of the Seven Sister Colleges (Barnard College, Bryn Mawr College, Mount Holyoke College, Barnard College, Smith College, Vassar College, and Wellesley College).

Bergman described the double crossing relay “As Seven Sister College students and graduates, we all believe in the power of women supporting women to achieve greatness. The six of us on this relay represent women of different ages, interests and geographical location, bound by a fierce love for challenge and passion for excellence that we developed at our respective colleges. We are embarking on this relay to be an example of empowerment; the empowerment found when women take on an incredible challenge as a team and work together, and empowerment via paying it forward and being a role model for those who want to dream big and fulfill their own goals.”

Photo above shows Bergman crossing the Catalina Channel on her solo swim in 2016 (read here).

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