‘I cooked not to come back’: the woman who finished the world’s hardest swimming

Kim Chambers started swimming after a life-changing collision. Just a few years later, she became the first female to take on a notorious pull of shark-inhabited waters

Under a pitch-black sky in August 2015, Kim Chambers boarded a craft and manager out beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. She took a support team that included her father, a film crew, and her swimming coach. Their destination was the Farallon Islands, a remote outcrop about 30 miles off the coast of San Francisco.

Once there, Chambers would attempt something no female had ever done: an unbroken, solo swim from small island developing back for the purposes of the Golden Gate. With the area’s icy liquids, strong jazzs, heavy swells and one of the largest concentrations of enormous lily-white sharks, it’s been called the toughest swim in the world.

The barge motored out in a little over two hours, arriving at the bumpy islands at 11 pm. Ten a few minutes later, Chambers jumped.

” It seems entirely nuts ,” she recollected,” but when I went to the Farallones, I readied not to come back. I did my laundry because I required my target to be decent when they came to collect my nonsense .”

But she did am coming, 17 hours and 12 a few minutes later. It was a jubilation that formed headlines and stimulated Outside Magazine to dub her ” the world’s most badass swimmer “~ ATAGEND.

Now, a documentary, Kim Swims, chronicles Chambers’ Farallones swim, and tells the story of how a 38 -year-old who had only been swimming severely for four years became one of the world’s top marathon swimmers.

Kim Kim Chambers bridges from the Farallon Islands to San Francisco. Photo: Kate Webber

She said it started with an accident.

” It was just a regular period ,” illustrated Chambers, who moved to the San Francisco Bay Area from her native New Zealand when she was 17.” I was wearing heels that were probably too high. I declined down the staircase on my lane to work, and I reach my leg .”

At the hospital, Chambers was diagnosed with acute bay syndrome as a result of blunt action trauma. Skin was grafted from her thigh to patch over the wounds on her distend shin.” Medical doctors said I was 30 instants from amputation and had a 1% chance of ever ambling unaided again ,” she said.” You wouldn’t think that[ sink] would be a defining moment in your life. You think it would be a vehicle clang or something. But I learned what I was made of .”

Enclosure expended two years in physical care and started swimming to learn” a sense of freedom “. The pool made her disguise the scars left from the drop.” I was so self-conscious, specially about my thigh ,” she says.” I didn’t want to be labeled as disabled. But standing in the shallow dissolve, parties would talk to me and no one was looking at my scars .”

Soon Chambers matched each member of the Dolphin Club, a group of hardcore swimmers who have spanned the frigid oceans of the San Francisco Bay since the club’s founding in 1877.” It was like this secret society of adventurers ,” she withdraws.” I was just alive .”

In the film, Chambers’ dive manager, Vito Bialla, laughs about how dreadful she was in those early days.” He said I couldn’t swim my way out of a paper bag with flippers on, which was true .” But she persevered, beginning with a intersecting to the famous Alcatraz prison. As times legislated she notched up big success, eventually becoming the third female, and simply the sixth party, to complete the Ocean Seven- a series of hazardous channels and paths of all the countries that is considered marathons swimming’s equivalent of mountain climbing’s Seven Summits.

But the fascination of the Farallones stood. She described her firstly swims at the islands as like being” in a wonderland, like another world “.

” We would go out there and jump in like it was some tropical destination, and fishermen would look at us like we were absolutely crazy. It became a home of pushing myself .”

It’s easy to understand the Farallones’ uncanny push. Its skeletal model haunts San Francisco like a ghost, appearing and disappearing with the overcast. To approach by craft takes hours, as curves pound like fists and seasickness tractions your bowels. The waters around the islands, which sit on the edge of a territorial waters, subside down to more than 10,000 ft late at spots. In that immense space, a swimmer seems naked and out of place.

The vulnerability was not forgotten on Chambers. Exactly 10 dates before her struggle, a fellow swimmer took the same direction simply to have his swimming cut short by a circle great lily-white shark. As she journeyed out that night, she wondered if she would have the spirit to get in.” The adrenaline was indescribable .”

The The Farallon Islands, a remote spot some 30 miles off the coast of San Francisco. Photo: Kate Webber

English Channel regulations- the marathon swimmers’ system- guaranteed she must wear only a swimming trunks and goggles and could not touch her supporter craft. She interrupted every 30 times to tread water and booze a liquid “feed” thrown overboard in a bottle on a rope.

What does one think about while swimming for 17 hours? Chamber says there are intervals she can’t echo-” You enroll this dreaming country. I tell people it’s like being in space”- but that she appeased her nerves by thinking of those she loved on the barge beside her.” I’ll work through a scenario where I was hanging out with each of them. I’ll replay that day in my premier. Parties say these swims are 80% mental and 20% physical .”

She declares it’s a lonely boast. More than 4,000 climbers have summited Everest; Chambers was just the fifth person to complete the Farallones swim. Her practice regimens are harsh. In preparation for the North Channel, between Ireland and Scotland, she gained 65 lb and refused to take a hot shower for six months; before her unsuccessful 2016 attempt to swim 93 miles down the Sacramento river, she swam the equivalent of an English Channel every Friday night for three months, abiding up through Saturday to prepare for sleep deprivation.

Despite the remarkable fortitude, Chambers says she doesn’t hold her swimming athletic events.” They are personal excursions of the ego. When I get out of the irrigate, I’m a different person than the person who is climbed in .”

“Crazy” is a word she listens a lot.” I don’t see myself as crazy ,” she says.” I’m just Kim and I like to swim .”

Kim Swims debuted at the Mill Valley film festival, where it won the audience option give for best film. It will next screen at the Portland film festival and the Rocky Mountain Women’s film festival, in Colorado Springs.

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