Angel More (Archana More)

Angel More is a triathlete, hiker, bicyclist, and open water swimmer and has completed many notable swims including, Alcatraz to shore (51 times), Golden Gate to Bay Bridge (6 times), Wharf to Wharf to Wharf (12 miles), Anacapa Channel (12 miles), and Catalina Channel (20 miles). She also swam internationally in countries extending to England, Sweden, South Africa, and Chile.

More is attempting the California Triple Crown of marathon swimming, with a 21.3-mile swim across the lengthwise axis of Lake Tahoe as the last swim left on her list. If she completes this swim she will become the youngest person to receive the California Triple Crown which will add to her collections of previous world records. More wants to empower children around the world and is raising awareness and money for Children International, which helps children around the world escape the cycle of poverty.

The day had finally come. After hours and hours of training, I could finally begin the swim I had been looking forward to: the Catalina Channel. The Catalina Channel swim starts from Doctor’s Cove (Catalina Island) to Terranea Beach (Mainland LA). At 10:20pm on June 24, I was greased up began my adventure. As I jumped into the water, my nerves began to race – I just started to realize that I was going to swim 20 miles, spend anywhere from 10 to 16 hours in the water. I took a few deep breaths, told myself that it was time, and then plunged down into the dark water. First, I had to swim to the shore and step onto dry land as the Marathon Swimming Rules states.

On the beach, a group of boy scouts was hanging out, and when my kayaker said “This is Angel More, she is attempting to swim from Catalina to the mainland. She is only 15 years old, please do not touch her,” they immediately started giving me high fives and wishing me good luck. I thought to myself, “I must look like a monster with all this sunscreen on,” but the boys didn’t seem to mind. I walked up the beach a little more until I reached the dry rocks, turned, looked at the boat, and waited for my OK, stating that I could begin my swim.

Angel More wore Desitin, baby diaper rash cream, to protect her from the sun and chafing. (Lisa Amorao)

I walked down to the edge of the water, and as soon as I took a step into the cool water, I knew that there was no going back. I kept going until I was fully emerged and began swimming. The full moon was hidden behind thick clouds which made the surroundings pitch black. I never open my eyes in the water because I don’t want to see any wildlife, but for a second I opened my eyes and saw black. Everywhere I looked was black, the darkest black I had ever seen. Next to me was a large fisherman boat with glow sticks hanging from the rim. On my other side was a kayak decorated with string lights. I felt secure knowing that people were watching out for me. In fact, I had a crew of 12, each person had a different job, but their sole purpose was to safely guide me to the mainland. Knowing I was safe, I put my head down and swam. I felt like I was swimming in a marble, a large, black marble.

Before Catalina, I had completed many swims, nothing measures up to the 20-mile challenge I had begun to tackle. In 2017, I swam in the Santa Barbara Channel, from Anacapa Island to Oxnard. The year before that I swam from Capitola Wharf to Santa Cruz Wharf and back. Both swims were 12 miles long. I had also swam from Alcatraz 51 times and from Golden Gate to Bay Bridge six times. I was ready, and I was prepared, I just had to keep swimming.

After seven hours of continuous swimming, the sun began to rise. I was told about how beautiful the sunrise is in the channel; however, when I looked up all I could see was grey. The clouds again were covering the bright light of the sun. Disappointed I continued to push through only stopping every half hour to drink my feed, a mixture of juice, water, and electrolytes.

Angel More takes a break to drink juice. Every hour she consumed about 400 calories. (Lisa Amorao)

Nine hours into the swim a current began pushing me towards San Diego. I had 5 more miles, but the current continued pushing against me and in many places, I was not moving. I could see the cityscape, my crew was telling me I was so close to shore, but I was going nowhere. I was frustrated, irritated, and just wanted to reach the shore. At this time, I turned off my mind, let my body continue the robotic swimming motion. After five hours I could see the beach, and within minutes I was on the shore. I kept telling myself that I was going to make it. I was going to reach the beach, and I was going to be able to feel the joy of completing the swim.

And I did, I reached the shore in 14 hours 22 minutes, and I did feel a palpable excitement and felt a deep satisfaction.

Angel at Terranea Beach soon after her swim. (Archana More)

People ask me what the hardest part of the swim is, and to their surprise, it is usually not what they think. It is not the cold, sea life, large shipping boats, or even the swimming itself, but it is the mindset one must build to believe that they can do complete the swim.

Open water swimming has helped me build confidence in myself – I speak more comfortably with people, I take on challenges, and I dedicate my time to things I enjoy and am passionate about. At times during Catalina, I got tired, and I doubted myself, but I knew that when I finished the swim I was going to be proud of myself, and I was going to make a difference in the world. People were going to know me and know what I can accomplish, and maybe I would inspire them to do what they hope to do.

Angel and with her crew: Lisa Amorao, Gretchen Fermer, Scott Tapley, Dawn Brooks, The Pacific Star Crew, Captain Dave, Captain Jake, Kelley Prebil, Nancy Greenblatt. (Archana More)

The best compliment I have gotten is: “I want to be like you when I grow up.”

The feeling that people are inspired by the things I do makes me proud and want to continue expanding my comfort zone and pushing my limits. It is a circle of motivation.