Katie Kramer, a junior at Marshall University successfully swam the Strait of Gibraltar yesterday becoming the youngest American woman and the 426th ever to make the crossing. We reached out to Katie to find out more about the big swim and this is what she had to say:
What motivated you to do this swim?
This whole adventure began with a search on Google! In October 2012, I was looking into potential study abroad opportunities and saw the Strait of Gibraltar on a map. I knew people have swum the English Channel and found the website for the Strait of Gibraltar Swimming Association… long story short, I wanted “swim from Europe to Africa” on my bucket list. I like the idea of doing something less than 600 people have ever done and what an adventure it turned out to be!
What were the conditions like?
The conditions were almost as good as one could hope for and such an answer to prayer. The water was 16-17 degrees Celsius with pretty mild winds. The current was mild but against us at the beginning, virtually negligible in the middle of the Strait, and a force against us for about two kilometers at the end. I was planning on swimming solo, but actually did it with my new friend Ion. He’s the first Moldovan to complete the crossing and had been waiting in Tarifa since April 28th to attempt. Finally, after thirteen days, we had a day when the weather was permissible, so we were (and are) so thankful.
How long did it take you?
4 hours and 28 minutes
What was the hardest part of the swim?
The most difficult aspect of the swim was honestly the preparation and uncertainty because the weather is so unpredictable and had been so severe. We received the tentative green light on Saturday night for Sunday’s swim, but Ion had been told to prepare three other times. Each time, the wind or fog prevented an attempt. In the end, I was prepared from training in the pool at Marshall and in the open water at home, so the actual crossing took care of itself.
Do you have any other big swims planned?
I haven’t quite decided what I want to do next… I have one more year of NCAA eligibility and then want to train for triathlons after that. I’ll definitely be looking for the next big athletic challenge!