Shubham Vanmali Completes San Francisco ‘Round-Trip Angel Island’ Marathon Swim
Vanmali becomes the youngest swimmer and first from India.
May 26, 2018 – SAN FRANCISCO, CA – On May 24, 2018, Shubham Dhananjay Vanmali from Navi Mumbai, India became the twelfth person to complete the ‘Round-Trip Angel Island’ 16.1km marathon swim in the San Francisco Bay. The swim, known as the most technically challenging in the Bay waters, has been attempted by more than 25 people over the past 40 years, with only 12 completions. Vanmali is the first from India, the youngest swimmer at age 22, and the first to attempt and complete the swim under the newly formed Northern California Open Water Swimming Association (NorCal OWSA).
“We were thrilled to have Shubham be the first swimmer of record for the Northern California Open Water Swimming Association,” said board member Steve Walker, an accomplished open water marathon swimmer having completed six of the Oceans Seven, an Ice Mile, numerous ultra-marathon swims, and author of a book on marathon swimming, Where The Crazy People Swim.
“It was an amazing swim,” said Walker. “It’s tricky on the best day, and most people fail. The fact that he gutted it out for over 10 hours in 12-degree water with the tide against him was mind-blowing and impressive.”
The swim starts and ends on the shared beach of San Francisco’s legendary open water swim clubs, the South End Rowing Club (1873) and Dolphin Club (1876). The course requires the swimmer to leave through the opening of Aquatic Park, swim past famed Alcatraz Island, swimming around Angel Island through a body known as Raccoon Strait before returning past Alcatraz and back through the narrow opening of Aquatic Park. All while crossing three international shipping lanes twice, 12 ferry routes, and swimming cross-current for the majority in 10 – 14.5C waters.
“At any point a swimmer can be stalled, not having the strength or perseverance to continue. We’ve watched swimmers barely make it past Alcatraz before aborting their attempt,” said Bryan Temmermand of Pacific Open Water Swim Co., who piloted Vanmali on his swim.
“A Round-Trip Angel Island swim is typically planned months in advance, carefully choosing a day where the mixed semidiurnal tides of the San Francisco Bay are weakest, and the water temperature and weather forecasted to be most favorable to make the 16 km swim,” said Temmermand. “In Shubham’s case, we could only pick the best day in a very small window which made the swim exceptionally challenging as tidal conditions were not optimal. Only the strongest swimmer both physically and mentally could even attempt on such a day,” he continued.
Bradley Robinson observed and documented the swim to ensure that all marathon swimming rules were followed.
Vanmali is currently in San Francisco preparing for his swim across the Molokai Channel in June as part of his quest to complete the Oceans Seven swim series, a feat achieved by only 10 people to date. Having completed the English Channel, Catalina Channel, and Strait of Gibraltar, the Molokai Channel, Cook Strait, North Channel and Tsugaru Strait remain.
The Northern California Open Water Swimming Association, based in San Francisco, California is steeped in the spirit and tradition of marathon swimming and comprised of seven channel swimming alumni all with significant marathon open water swimming experience. NorCal OWSA is a non-profit corporation that provides world-class leadership to the Open Water swimming community and ratifies swims in Northern California and on Lake Tahoe as the Lake Tahoe Open Water Swimming Association.