Audrey Viers - Around Coronado Island
Glorietta Bay Park to Hotel del Coronado
18.3 km (11.4 miles)
4 hours, 56 minutes on 31 October 2020
Observed and documented by Marc Horwitz
- Name: Audrey Viers
- Gender: female
- Age on swim date: 36
- Nationality: United States
- Resides: Mission Viejo, California
- Jim Montrella - pilot
- Barbara Alvstad - crew chief
- Brett Hillyard - crew
- Cherie Edborg - kayaker
- Marc Horwitz - observer
Escort Vessel: H2O Waterman
- Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.
- Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
- Equipment used: Textile swimsuit, cap, goggles.
Glorietta Bay Park, counter-clockwise around Zuniga Jetty and Coronado Island, to Hotel del Coronado.
- Body of Water: San Diego Bay and Pacific Ocean
- Route Type: one-way
- Start Location: Glorietta Bay Park (32.675060, -117.167979)
- Finish Location: Beach in front of Hotel del Coronado (32.679807, -117.181402)
- Minimum Route Distance: 18.3 km (11.4 miles) (map)
- Start: 31 October 2020, 09:22:00 (Pacific Daylight, America/Los_Angeles, UTC-7).
- Finish: 31 October 2020, 14:18:53
- Elapsed: 4 hours, 56 minutes, 53 seconds.
Summary of Conditions
|Water Temp (F)||68||69|
|Air Temp (F)||55||67|
Trackpoint frequency: 15 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).
Nutrition: 6-8 oz Skratch Superfuel (raspberry flavor) mixed with water at the top of the hour, Huma Gel with water at the bottom of the hour.
by Marc Horwitz
Audrey Viers started her swim from Glorietta Bay Park on October 31,2020 at 9:22.00 and completed the swim in front of Hotel del Coronado the same day at 14:18.53, the total time 4:56.53. No rules were broken during the swim. Ms. Viers completed the swim without direct aid and conformed to the open water swim philosophy.
The swim was observed by Marc Horwitz, a five year observer for CCSF. The assist vessel, H20 man was captained by Jim Montrella, crewed by Barbara Alvstad, CCSF observer and Brett Hillard, crew and companion swimmers, and Cherie Edborg (kayaker), SBCSA Board Member and observer, CCSF observer.
Cherie Edborg kayaked the entire distance, wearing a GPS watch, the data from that watch accompanies this report as one set of time, distance and location markers. During the swim many pictures were taken, those are presented as backup documentation, with location, time, corresponding to the swim log.
The log used to note the observation is that of the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation, as were the basic rules for the swim. The timing was noted in military time. The observation centered on maintaining a safe environment. The water temperature, above 65 degrees, lack of wind, and gentle sea conditions, were not safety factors. Audrey is well known to this observer, was found to be adequately trained for a swim of well beyond the anticipated distance. The amount of boat traffic and industrial activity was found to be a potential safety issue, but as Audrey researched and considered this swim environment carefully the swim was allowed to proceed. The captain, crew and observers were on lookout the entire swim. No overt safety issues were encountered the entire swim.
The companion vessel followed Ms. Viers on the port side for most of the swim with the kayak following closely the entire distance typically on the swimmers right. Brett Hillyard companion swam for 1 hour, 12:55 to 13:55. Barbara Alvstad followed Audrey to the finish for about 800 yards to ensure safe exit and record the finish on video.
This swim is noted for its location, through the San Diego Naval Shipyards, Downtown San Diego, and the coastal area around Hotel del Coronado. The observation used three primary landmarks to define the swim, transverse of Coronado Bridge, 09:48, rounding the end of Zuniga Jetty, 12:57, and finishing at the iconic architecture of Hotel del Coronado14:18. Intermediate points are also noted on the log to show progress and time justification.
There were some notable events observed during the swim, we were passed by a landing craft carrier with horn blasts 10:39 and a high-speed pass by an armed military Zodiac, 10:43, and passing various Navy vessels along the way.
Of the three major milestones the end of the Zuniga Jetty is the least defined and the largest opportunity to save time. A boat with a shallow draft can go over the tope in places or a swimmer may cut the corner to save time. Special attention was paid to ensure that this would not happen. Captain Montrella was informed both by the swimmer and the observer of the importance of this navigational imperative. Proof is supplied on the GPS output, in pictures and observer log notation.
The distance, approximately 11-12 miles were covered without complaint or concern; Ms. Viers emerged from the swim with a giant smile and was in no obvious distress. This was an important swim for Audrey, and I am proud of her progress. There were no injuries reported everyone returned safely; the entire event was a big success. I look forward to seeing Audrey take a leadership role of her choosing in the open water swimming world.
by Audrey Viers
For the past few years, I have done a marathon swim for my birthday. It’s a great way to end the year, and it helps me move past any pot swim blues that I have from the summer “season”. Since most swims were canceled for 2020, finding a swim was going to be tough. A friend suggested a local swim, that would be logistically easy to plan and execute without breaking any of my self-imposed Covid restrictions.
In training for this swim, I was coming off of absolutely nothing. I had been very sick all year, having had Covid in January and almost losing my life from the 3 different strokes that followed. In between PT doctor appointments, I would go down to one of the local secluded coves and just float. I needed help getting down the stairs and into the water, but the second my feet hit the water I felt whole again.
When I was cleared for “physical aerobic activity”, I could only swim 2-300 yards at a time. Building slowly, I was able to go longer and longer and realized in August that I might actually be able to do a long swim this year. When the idea of Coronado came up, I talked it over with my coach, Jim Montrella, and he agreed it was a great goal- but a lofty one at that… and he wasn’t comfortable with me making such a huge jump in that short amount of time. He wanted to pilot me in his personal boat, to “keep an eye” on me in case of an emergency. We didn’t know enough about how my body would react to a long swim, so we made the decision to have both a boat and a kayak with me.
We trained very differently than we had in the past. No hard intervals or fast swimming, just long aerobic/low heart rate swims. Coming off of a stroke and also being on a slew of medications that I hadn’t taken long enough to know their effect on my body, we were careful and methodical. It turned out to be the perfect way to prepare… I was swimming faster than I had previously, and I was actually ENJOYING every stroke in every swim. My mental fortitude was improving, and I was excited to see what I was capable of in my new normal.
DAY OF THE SWIM
I had discussed swim logistics over and over with a good friend, Peter Hayden. Tides, traffic, dates, everything possible… I over-analyzed every aspect of this swim possible, to the point that Peter probably got annoyed with me. I was willing to do whatever he said, I trusted him implicitly. The only thing I was not willing to concede on was the date- I had to do this on my birthday. Luck was on my side. Not only was it a king tide with a full moon on that date, it was also the perfect weather window. There had been strong winds for a few days prior that had dropped the water temp 7-8 degrees F. Part of being as sick as I was, I had lost quite a bit of body fat and muscle mass. My ability to swim for a long time in colder water had not yet been tested, and it was concerning.
Since I was swimming counterclockwise, we decided I should start about an hour before the peak ebb, so I could take advantage of the pull out of the harbor. This worked out well for me, because it meant starting around 9am- swimming in the sunshine meant my chances of getting cold were slim. Our goal was to hit the outside of the harbor and turn towards the beach at the slack tide, so when I made the turn I wouldn’t be swimming into a receding tide.
The start was perfect, with Cherie next to me in the kayak. Hands down, best paddler ever. She is so level-headed, with a calmness that helps me when I get into my head and become anxious. She also has a way of being brutally honest- she has no issue telling me to shut up and swim and stop being dumb. I loved seeing her smiling and joking with the crew on the boat, and it made me happy everyone was enjoying the day.
We flew out of the harbor. The water felt good, it dropped a bit in the main channel but not enough to cause worry. I was feeling great, seeing the air carriers going by, and helicopters buzzing above. I refused to swim under any of the piers and low pilings- they have always scared me. We hit the mouth of the harbor at about 3 hours when Cherie told me I was on pace to beat one of the other members of our swim pod, Scott Zornig. Scott had done this swim a few years back and had a fast time. I have a pretty serious competitive streak, so I asked for my training partner, Brett Hillyard, to jump in with me to get my pace up. Coming around the jetty was tough, it seemed SO LONG. Brett jumping in at the turn made me so happy to be done with the harbor.
The wind picked up when we made the turn. Again, I took it pretty wide, because rocks… who wants to swim over rocks?! Not me. Our plan on hitting slack at the mouth also didn’t work- I had swum much faster than we anticipated, and the tide hadn’t turned yet. When we made the turn, we were swimming directly into the max ebb. Combined with the wind, it made for some choppy water. Brett helped me pick up the pace, but I could feel that we weren’t moving as fast as we normally would in better conditions. When I hit a mile and a half to go, I had 30 minutes to beat Scott and I knew I wouldn’t make it. I was starting to bonk from both swimming hard, and I also knew part of it was I was starting to beat myself up mentally. When Brett got out, I was upset with myself for not preparing for this better and my pace slowed down. Cherie was amazing- wouldn’t let me complain about it, she just ignored me and told me to get it done.
I hit the beach at the Hotel Del just shy of 5 hours. I was bummed I didn’t beat Scott, but also incredibly happy that I was able to complete a swim- 8 months previous I couldn’t walk on my own, let alone swim. I gained a new appreciation not only for swimming, but for the ability to train and do what I love. Having my favorite people with me, who all supported me so much when I was sick, made it that much more special for me. The gratitude I have for them for not only saving my life, but saving my swimming as well is endless, and I can’t imagine doing another swim without them by my side.
Click to enlarge.