Former Cal swimmer and US National Teamer Catherine Breed has become the fifth woman to complete the 25-mile swim across Monterey Bay.
Breed completed the swim in 12 hours and 53 minutes, which broke the record for the fastest swim across the bay held by Patti Bauernfeind since 2014.
With the completion of the swim, Breed joins Bauernfeind, Cindy Cleveland (1980), Kim Rutherford (2014) and Amy Gubser (2017) as the only women to complete the swim.
Breed began her swim at 9 pm on Monday, September 21st, opting to swim through the night in order to avoid heavier afternoon winds that would cause choppy waters.
After her swim, Breed recalled, “I couldn’t hear anything and it was so black, so I couldn’t see anything. It was a weird place to be with no senses.”
She then continued to swim through the night, until the challenges of the morning met her, which included thick morning fog, jellyfish, and whale poop. The jellyfish proved to be the hardest challenge, as Breed was stung a total of 55 times during her swim.
Despite these challenges, Breed reached San Carlos Beach in Monterey just before 10 am on Tuesday, falling to her knees in exhaustion and relief.
“I was proud of myself for breaking the record and, honestly, I was just relieved to be out of the water,” Breed recalled.
This swim isn’t Breed’s first record-breaking open water swim. In July, she took 45 minutes off the previous women’s record for a round trip swim to Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay, finishing the 10-mile swim in 4:45:50.
Breed was a member of the U.S. National Junior Team for 2008-2009 and 2009-2010. She made the senior national team after finishing second in the 200m free at 2011 Summer Nationals, which put her on the 2011 Pan American Games roster. At Pan Ams in 2011, she took gold in the 200 free and as a member of the 800 free relay.
At Cal, Breed was a multi-time individual NCAA scorer.