Mia Thomas (16 years old) and Heloise Leblanc (17 years old) from San Diego County completed their solo swims across the Catalina Channel on Wednesday morning reaching land in the unofficial time of 12 hours, 37 minutes. Both girls had to remain strong and determined while confronted with large swells and adverse conditions throughout the swim. Strong currents pushed the swimmers down the channel where they landed at Inspiration Point instead of Terranea Beach, which is typically the target landing spot.
The Catalina Channel is a little more than 20-miles at its shortest distance but the girls swam over 23.5 miles to finish their challenge. Mia and Heloise are no strangers of the Catalina Channel, as both participated in the 2015 “Oceans Seven” relay which crossed the channel in 7 hours 51 minutes and raised over $18,000 for Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, a San Diego nonprofit that provides free medical care to disadvantaged children.
Mia swims for North Coast Aquatics in North County and is starting her senior year at Cathedral Catholic High School. Her mother, Michella Thomas, completed a solo swim of Catalina in 2013 and swam as a member of the “Mom’s on a Mission” relay team in 2016. Heloise swims for PAC swim team in Carmel Valley and is bound to Boston University where she’s enrolled in a 7-year accelerated medical program and will swim NCAA Division I for her University. Both are long term swimming friends and practice partners that wanted to complete this challenge before transitioning to their new college life.