As a kid, every time I had a layover in Honolulu, I would run to the Channel Swimming display that stood in the middle of the airport and read the list of names of people who had swam the channels. I remember thinking, “I’m going to have my name in there someday.”
My name is Becca Mann and during the week of August 11th, 2019, I’m going to attempt to be the first person to complete the Maui Nui Channel Swim.
Hawaii is my favorite place on the planet. I spent a lot of time there growing up and remember taking the ferry from Maui to Lanai and thinking about the names in the display who had swum the ferry ride.
In 2008, I became the youngest person to swim the Au’Au Channel (Lanai to Maui) at the age of 10. It took me 6 hours, 46 minutes, and 26 seconds. The first three hours consisted of some of my favorite swimming memories. I remember seeing a swarm of jellyfish floating below me, the sunlight giving them an iridescent glow. I swam over turtles. I wondered how deep the water was when all I could see below me was a depthless cobalt blue. I watched the mass of land behind me grow smaller and smaller as the mass ahead of me grew larger and larger.
The last three hours...well, the mass ahead stopped growing larger. I was probably swimming in place for most of the second half. But I made it. Eventually.
The next year, when I ran over to the display and saw my name at the bottom of the list, a smile covered my face. There’s something about having your name forever in the Honolulu Airport. My channel swimming was then put on hold in order to focus on National Team Swimming, but there was always a feeling that my Hawaii channel swimming was not yet complete and a desire to take it on again.
Last year, an opportunity to swim the Au’Au Channel relay presented itself and I immediately jumped on board. Me and five others got the record for the fastest all-female relay. I knew during my short thirty minute stretch that I would be back. Hawaii was not yet done with me.
It’s safe to say that I have a lot of history with channel swimming in Hawaii. There’s something magical about it. It was a big part of what drew me to open water swimming. I’ve been in the top 15 at World Championships in four open water races the past 6 years, and am a 2 time national champion in the 10k. But now, a whole career of open water swimming later, I’m ready to do some island-hopping again.
The Maui Nui is approximately 64 kilometers. I’m hoping to complete it in 15-20 hours. Since it contains three channels, one of the legs I will be fighting against the Tradewinds. In order to take on this challenge, I’m going to need approximately $10,000 to fund all the swim operation, boats, paddlers, and management. This swim means so much to me and any amount will help.
I’ve been in contact with Harry Huffaker, the only other person who’s attempted the swim. He shared his story with me, which you can find at this link for more info: https://openwaterswimming.com/2019/06/harry-huffakers-three-islands-swim/