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Digital Subscriptions > Outdoor Swimmer > June 2018 > AT THE EDGE

AT THE EDGE

Kim Chambers was the first woman to swim from the Farallon Islands to San Francisco – 30 miles through cold, treacherous and great white shark inhabited waters. Interview by Jonathan Cowie

OPEN WATER HERO

Growing up I never understood why people would climb Everest or swim the English Channel, but I now know why. It is human nature to avoid things that scare us, it is human nature to avoid things that make us uncomfortable. Marathon open water swimming is scary. Anyone who says they aren’t scared is lying,” says Kim Chambers. “You are at that edge.”

It is an edge that Kim has not shied away from exploring. She was the sixth person to complete the Oceans Seven and the only woman to swim what many consider to be the world’s toughest swim – 30 miles through great white shark-inhabited waters from the Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge. Kim Swims, a new documentary by Kate Webber, is the story of that swim.

But her journey to the edge started with a freak accident, falling down a flight of stairs on her way to work. After surgery doctors told her that there was only a 1% chance that she would ever walk unaided again. “At the time it was the worst possible thing that ever happened to me,” she says. “It was the lowest of the lowest.”

Kim spent two years in fulltime rehabilitation but still had a terrible limp. She started swimming “as a way of having mobility and a sense of freedom after being mentally and physically stuck for over two years.”

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About Outdoor Swimmer

As we finally spring into summer, our June issue is packed full of inspiring stories and features. Whether you are training for an endurance swim or planning a summer of wild swimming adventures, we have all the best advice, kit and inspiration to help you get out there and enjoy the open water.