Courtesy of WOWSA, Santa Barbara Channel, California.

A local filmmaker, Ryan Slattery, heard about Rachel Horn‘s channel attempts off the Santa Barbara coast – and came up with an idea.

Eventually his vision and her dreams to raise money for the Special Olympics while swimming across a local channel found itself at the center of 33rd annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival this February.

Slattery created the 25-minute documentary film Crossing The Channel with Horn as the protagonist and the ocean off Santa Barbara as the backdrop. “I’m a narrative fiction filmmaker for the most part,” Slattery told the local television stations. “I’ve never done a documentary. But, when I heard Rachel was doing this swim, I know a good story when I hear one.”

Every swim across and between the islands governed by the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association is a good one and managed by Evan Morrison who swam across the 30.6 km Santa Barbara Channel between Santa Cruz Island and the California mainland in 2012 in 9 hours 47 minutes.

The area has so many advantages for a channel swimmer or cold water swimmer to train,” observed Steven Munatones. “The water is clean, the coastline is beautiful, and the ocean can be wild at times with winds and waves to harden – prepare – a person for the most difficult channel swims, ranging anywhere from the North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland to the Cook Strait in New Zealand.

There are plenty of competitive swim teams in the area, from very competitive age group teams coached by Olympic marathon swimmers to intense masters swimming teams with luminaries like Jim McConica and his group of tough marathon swimmers including Tom Ball, Kurtis Baron, John Chung, Jim Neitz and Mike Shaffer.

There are numerous experienced escort pilots and veteran mariners in the area like Bob Andrieux and Dawn Brooks, the weather is good nearly year-round, the ambience is great with good restaurants, showers and facilities on the beach – and the marine life is fascinating.”

The organization and community are passionately and professionally supported by dozens of Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association Lifetime Members:

* Ned Denison (2006)
* Seth Streeter (2006)
* Emilio Casanueva (2006)
* Jim McConica (2007)
* Ram Aramis (2007)
* Paul Lewis (2008)
* Scott Zornig (2008)
* Lynn Kubasek (2010)
* Nick Caine (2011)
* Dean McNeil (2011)
* Tina Neill (2011)
* Jim Neitz (2011)
* Forrest Nelson (2011)
* Herb Barthels (2012)
* John Chung (2012)
* Cherié Edborg (2012)
* Darren Miller (2012)
* Walter Bean Scott (2012)
* Ellen Shockro (2012)
* David Yudovin (2012)
* Vic Anderson (2013)
* Jane Cairns (2013)
* Michelle Macy (2013)
* Scott Tapley (2013)
* Michelle Premeaux McConica (2013)
* Bob Needham (2013)
* Julian Rusinek (2013)
* Theo Schmeeckle (2013)
* Dave Van Mouwerik (2013)
* Anthony McCarley (2014)
* Howard Burns (2014)
* Sylvia Glenn (2014)
* Carol Hayden (2014)
* Peter Hayden (2014)
* Ken Hintz (2014)
* Monica Jones (2014)
* Michelle Poole (2014)
* Kelley Prebil (2014)
* Ingrid Schmitz (2014)
* Bart Bleuel (2015)
* David Appleby (2015)
* Robin Rose (2015)
* James R. Clifford, Sr. (2015)
* Hayward “Beau” Gatch (2015)
* Natalie Merrow (2015)
* Kent Nicholas (2015)
* Dan Simonelli (2015)
* David Barra (2016)
* Carol Sing (2016)
* James S. Cherry (2016)
* Elizabeth Fry (2016)
* Daniel Anhua Fung (2016)
* Gary E. King (2016)
* Rachel Horn (2016)
* Peter Lofquist (2016)
* Chloë McCardel (2016)
* Eric A. Paine (2016)
* Louise Hyder-Darlington (2017)
* Alice Ma (2017)
* Sylvia Lacock Marino (2017)
* Angel More (2017)
* Linda Simons (2017)
* Ryan Utsumi (2017)

For more information, visit the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association website here.

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