University of California Berkeley All-American Catherine ‘Cat’ Breed

Cat Swims To Scotland

Courtesy of David Holscher, North Channel, Northern Ireland – Scotland.

Catherine Breed, a former world-class freestyler in the pool, has transitioned well to channel swimming.  So well, a tough 35 km crossing from Northern Ireland to Scotland across the North Channel was completed in 11 hours 6 minutes to kickstart the North Channel’s season.

David Holscher of the Night Train Swimmers reported, “Cat trained brilliantly for this swim, but nature did not cooperate during her scheduled time period.  She had to pick the least windy period before her time frame ended.

During the swim, she swam at least a ½-mile slower than her typical swims due to the 10 – 12 knot headwind.  [It was] a tough challenge, but even tougher in 54°F (12.2°C) water. This is truly a brave swim.  The good news is she did dodge over 150 lion’s mane jellyfish and only got stung once. Big waves do help in strange ways.”

Escort pilot Pádraig Mallon said, “Catherine left Bangor harbour early on June 25th morning to start at 3:57 am, waved off by the Donaghadee Chunky Dunkers.

em>Wearing her black speedo swim costume, goggles and Beyond Your Limits Infinity swim hat with Desitin as a sunblock, she jumped into the 11°C waters taking wind, choppy waters and lion’s mane in her stroke with not one complaint. Her swim progressed successfully and with 10 hours past Scotland was clearly in her sight. The rough water did not allow her perfect stroke to show its polished finesse.  She read the sea, paused, waited and danced to its rhythm.

As always, Scottish shores don’t give easily and for stalwart Catherine, this time the flat waters gave a fast pace swim and the advance towards shore was rewarding.

As the currents pushed south Catherine was advised that she had 1 km to swim.  ‘Do you promise it’s only one kilometer?’,, she asked. But no reply came as there was no certainty.  After a further 20 minutes and in reward for a fast pace Catherine arrived in Scotland finishing midway between Killantringan Lighthouse and Portpatrick Harbour.”

Her crossing was the 71st crossing by the 65th swimmer and 23rd female in the North Channel’s history.

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