Kevin Cody

Former Titan swimming across Santa Monica Bay

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Amy Appelhans Gubser swimming across the Monterey Bay. This week, she is celebrating her 50th birthday by swimming across the Santa Monica Bay, from Point Dume to Palos Verdes. Photo by John Chapman

by Kevin Cody

Amy Appelhans Gubser is celebrating her 50th birthday by swimming across the Santa Monica Bay, from Point Dume to Palos Verdes. The former Rolling Hills High School and Peninsula Aquatics swimmer plans to enter the water at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 7 and arrive at Lunada Bay between 10 a.m. and noon on Friday. The 27-mile swim will be a training swim for her attempt to swim the North Channel, the veteran marathon swimmer said. The North Channel is a strait that separates Ireland and Scotland. It is considered the most difficult of the Ocean Seven Marathon Swims.

Unlike the Santa Monica Bay, the North Channel’s 50-degree water is too cold for sharks. But it does have seven-foot-wide Lion’s Mane Jellies, the largest jellies in the ocean. Their toxin-filled, 190-foot tentacles and the cold water are the primary reasons 80 percent of swimmers who attempt to swim the North Channel fail.

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“The Santa Monica Bay will be like a bathtub compared to North Channel,” Gubser said. Santa Monica Bay temperatures are in the low 60s.

Last September, Gubser swam across the 25-mile wide Monterey Bay. In 2016, she swam the Catalina Channel. In 2015 she swam the Strait of Gibraltar, between Spain and Morocco. She also swam the length of icy, 21-mile-long Lake Tahoe in 2015.

On the Santa Monica Bay swim, Gubser will be escorted by her husband Greg Gubser, a former Los Angeles County Lifeguard, and by retired Los Angeles County Lifeguard Shannon Davey, of Hermosa Beach. The two will be paddling kayaks. Michael Chandler, of El Segundo, will skipper the escort boat.

The Gubsers and children Justin and Holly live in Pacifica, a small beach town just south of San Francisco. The two met as teens in the Los Angeles County Junior Lifeguard program and founded a junior lifeguard program called Surf Camp Pacifica when they moved north. Amy is a  Pediatric Intensive Care Unit neonatal nurse. Greg is the Deputy Harbor Director at Pillar Point Harbor in San Mateo.

Only two people have completed the 26-mile swim across the Santa Monica Bay. On March 16, 2013 marathon swimmers Jen Schumacher and Forrest Nelson departed from Point Dume and finished at Lunada Bay in 13 hours, 10 minutes, 35 seconds.

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