Delmont swimmer to attempt New Zealand passage in quest to complete Ocean’s Seven Challenge
By Amanda Dolasinski
Published: Saturday, March 9, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Updated: Saturday, March 9, 2013
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Organization helps cancer-stricken mother see her kids attend prom
- Loyalhanna parents denied contact once baby born
- Murrysville drivers will enjoy green all the way on Route 22 as traffic engineers adjust signals
- Hempfield man gets 5 to 10 years in prison for firing at troopers in what lawyer called an ‘anomaly’
- Mt. Pleasant district renews food contract
- Westmoreland county South Huntingdon Yough …
- Belle Vernon family suing VFD over crash
- Sentence in fatal DUI crash rings hollow for family of Jeannette woman
- Hempfield man gets life in prison for killing girlfriend during fight over spilled noodles
- Communities, theater feel loss of Greensburg prisoner work program
- Judge to stay on in Knight death penalty case
You must be signed in to add comments
To comment, click the Sign in or sign up at the very top of this page.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.