Sarah Thomas sets Anacapa women’s course record

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Sarah Thomas and kayaker Neil van der Byl underway. Anacapa Island's Arch Rock in the background.

The Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association reports that Sarah Thomas swam from Anacapa Island to Oxnard this morning in 5 hours, 7 minutes (unofficial time). This is a new course record for the channel, lowering Karina Garcia‘s 5:28 mark from 2017.

The swim completes Sarah’s California Triple Crown – she is the 19th person to do so.

SBCSA observer Dave Van Mouwerik writes:

We were a lean crew on the water today: Sarah Thomas (swimmer), Neil van der Byl (triple hatting as kayaker, feeder, and crew chief), Dawn Brooks – the owner and pilot of the Elka Lynn, and myself, Dave Van Mouwerik, the observer.

We encountered significant fog on our trip out to Anacapa.  Once we were in the vicinity of the island, it was invisible, well hidden by thick fog, but only a hundred fifty yards away.  We waited nearly an hour and a half for the fog to lift, and as gray light arrived, the fog quickly dissipated, and Sarah was in the water and underway at 6:28 AM.

Sarah’s stroke rate started at 72 SPM, but gradually rose, and for most of the swim her stroke rate hovered around 78-81 SPM. Water temps started at ~61 degrees, but by late morning had reached 65 degrees.

Sarah’s first hour of swimming held steady at 2.1 MPH, which was not going to get her to the sub 5:28 that she was targeting to capture the women’s speed record for this route set by Karina Garcia in 2017. But after the first hour, Sarah’s speed kept gradually increasing, getting as high as approx. 2.7 MPH, and an overall average speed of 2.5 MPH. It seemed that in that first hour, there was a current that held Sarah to the island, but once that relented, she quickly left the island behind.

Sarah is a no-nonsense swimmer; she put her head down, and maintained her focus and her steady cadence for the duration of the swim.  Her feeds took between 7 and 11 seconds.

Ultimately Sarah handily prevailed over this swim, completing it in an official time of 05:07:10.

Congratulations Sarah, for completing this swim and also for having achieved the California Triple Crown!