SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A San Francisco resident became the first woman to swim the 30-mile stretch from the Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday and conquer one of the world’s most dangerous crossings.
Kim Chambers, 38, dove in the cold water late Friday and passed under the bridge about 17 hours later.
“I had my whole crew just giving me the thumbs up. I can see the bridge and when you can see that you know have to get there,” Chambers told KGO-TV. “I definitely had to dig really, really deep.”
She was followed by a boat carrying her mother and about 16 crew members who watched for dangers.
Four men have completed the Farallones to Golden Gate swim. The stretch of water is notorious for great white sharks that are attracted to elephant seals on the cluster of islands off the San Francisco coast.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports Chambers planned her swim at a time when the seasonal shark population at the Farallones is typically away and only year-round ones would be present.
“People think I’m crazy because there are sharks but that’s why I’m doing it,” Chambers told the newspaper. “That’s their habitat and they should be there. I think they’re magnificent creatures.”
A former ballerina, Chambers took up swimming to rehabilitate from an accident in which she nearly lost a leg.
The New Zealand native became the sixth person (and third woman) to complete the Ocean’s Seven, a collection of marathon swimming challenges, including the Strait of Gibraltar, the Molokai Channel in Hawaii, and the North Channel from northern Ireland to Scotland, where she endured hundreds of jellyfish stings during a 13-hour successful crossing.