Delmont swimmer to attempt New Zealand passage in quest to complete Ocean's Seven Challenge
Marathon swimmer Darren Miller calmly hashes out the challenging details of his upcoming swim in New Zealand, including the possibility that he'll be just arm-strokes away from a Great White shark.
But that doesn't rattle the ultra-distance swimmer. Last summer, he successfully swam the Tsugaru Channel in Japan, where snakes, squids and sharks are common.
Miller, 29, of Delmont, will attempt the sixth of seven swims as he races to become the first American to complete the Ocean's Seven Challenge. Next week, he will swim the 16-nautical-mile Cook Strait, between the north and south islands of New Zealand.
“This one is dangerous,” he said. “There's going to be a 40-foot luxury yacht ahead of us looking out for debris in the water, rough water and keeping an eye out for the critters of the sea.”
In the Cook Strait, that means sharks, marlin, swordfish, dolphins and whales.
It's the only swim in the challenge that allows participants to exit the water for 10 minutes if a Great White Shark is spotted, because there is a significant population there, he said.
Miller will need to overcome the water's choppy waves and cold temperature — about 60 degrees. He can compete only in a Speedo, swimming cap and goggles.
“The main challenge that I face with these swims is simply the fact of overcoming cold water,” he said. “Growing up in Pittsburgh, I trained in flat water. It does not replicate the environment that I have to swim.”
A senior relationship manager at PNC Bank in Murrysville, Miller trains mostly at Keystone Lake in Derry Township and in a tub of cold water outside his home.
This swim could take from eight to 12 hours, depending on water conditions, he said. He completed the other swims alone, but a friend from Colorado will join him on this one.
Miller hopes to complete the Ocean's Seven challenge in July, when he will swim the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland, which is considered to be the most difficult, he said.
The Ocean's Seven challenge consists of swimming across seven of the world's most difficult channels: the English, Catalina, Molokai, Gibraltar Strait, Tsugaru and North Channels and the Cook Strait. Only a man from Ireland has completed the challenge.
Each completed swim brings donations to the Forever Fund, which helps families pay for costs associated with infant cardiothoracic surgery at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Miller's swims have raised more than $60,000 for the nonprofit.
Every penny of the donations goes to the Forever Fund, Miller said. He said Trustmont Financial Group in Greensburg foots the bill for travel costs.
Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6220 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Allegheny man Wedel charged with baseball bat, knife attack on former roommate
- Hempfield Area High School senior Richason creates Before I Die wall in Greensburg
- Youngwood Fire Department to dedicate memorial at station
- Bushy Run Battlefield upgrades to include trail, signs, landscaping
- Greensburg police captain to attend highly selective academy
- 20 charged in Western Pennsylvania drug crackdown
- Police on hunt for suspects in unrelated Penn Township, Manor cases