A San Francisco woman completed her 30-mile journey across shark-infested waters to become the first woman to swim from the Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Kim Chambers, a 38-year old New Zealand native who now lives in San Francisco, took off from the islands on Friday night at 11:15 p.m. and swam under the Golden Gate Bridge 17 hours and 12 minutes later, around 4:30 p.m., Saturday afternoon. A trained long-distance swimmer, she's only the sixth person to ever complete the so-called Ocean's Seven, a collection of seven long-distance swims from around the globe, including the English Channel. However, Chambers says the swim from the Farallones to San Francisco is probably the most difficult. "The weather is less predictable, and there are great white sharks," she told SFGate.
"It's going to take me a long time to process this," she said, after completing the swim. "That was the scariest thing I've ever done."
The waters around the Farallones are notorious for the great white sharks, who are attracted by the elephant seals who live on the rocky islands.
Kim and her mom. "I'm in shock," says Chambers. #KimSwims pic.twitter.com/g6NdRyyDPE— Melanie Woodrow (@MelanieWoodrow) August 9, 2015
According to KPIX, it wasn't the sharks that provided a challenge, but the conditions. Chambers swam without a wetsuit and needed to stay nourished in order to stave off hypothermia, even with the waters at an unusually balmy 60 degrees. She had trouble keeping anything down. Two boats traveled alongside Chambers, one of which had her mom on board, throwing down food and water for the swimmer. However, if she touched either of the boats, the swim would be officially over.
Also riding in one of the boats was her training partner, Simon Dominguez, who had attempted the same swim last week, but was 3 miles short of finishing because of a great white shark that began circling him.
Although one of the top long-distance swimmers in the world, Chambers is a relative newcomer to the extreme sport. She was a classically-trained ballerina who suffered a serious leg injury in 2007 and took up swimming for rehab.
Chambers says she wants to leave an impact. "I hope I can just inspire young women to dream big."