COVID-19’s Impact On Channel Swimming In Hawaii

Courtesy of Jeff Kozlovich, OahuMolokai, Hawaii.

With the global coronavirus pandemic surging, the number of confirmed cases in United States is now greater than any other country in the world (86,012). See data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center here.

But hope reigns.

Jeff Kozlovich, the most prolific kayaker across the Molokai Channel explains about the upcoming channel swimming season, “Things are very quiet around this tourist paradise. It is the same as most places with a mandatory stay-at-home policy. There is a ghost town feel and lots of wondering when it is all going to be over and lots of hand washing and no toilet paper.”

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Judging from the current situation, what is the situation regarding Kaiwi (Molokai) Channel swimming in Hawaii?

Jeff Kozlovich: As of now, the Kaiwi Swim season’s early swims have been cancelled and swimmers moved to other slots. The next scheduled swim is the first week of June. We’ll see how that goes, it may not.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: If swimmers have already paid their fees and escort boats, what do you recommend they do?

Jeff Kozlovich: If a swimmer has booked and paid and there is any question at all they need to contact me at [email protected]

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How late in the season can athletes cancel for any reason?

Jeff Kozlovich: Any coronavirus-related cancellations can be made at any time and we will find another slot for the swimmer. We’ll just move your deposit to that new date. There are no new fees or penalties for these cancellations.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What do you recommend the open water swimmers – especially channel and marathon swimmers – do at this time given what we know and do not know?

Jeff Kozlovich: There is no doubt these are difficult times. We have to acknowledge the severity of the situation while staying positive and knowing we will get through this – together. Stay connected, help where you can and wash your hands. For the optimists out there, we are booking the 2021 and 2022 seasons now.

Video above highlights André Wiersig’s crossing of the Molokai Channel in 2015 in 18 hours 26 minutes, finishing on Sandy Beach on Oahu escorted by pilot Mike Twigg-Smith, observer/kayaker Jeff Kozlovich, kayaker Marcos Robaina, and crew Jürgen Peters and Guido Schneider.

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