Night Train Swimmers
It has since grown in membership and impact each year since with marathon relay swims in the Sea of Cortez in Mexico, Lake Powell bordering the states of Arizona and to the Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco. Its mission is to swim for charity.
The Night Train Swimmers will attempt to set the world record for the longest non-stop ocean relay swim in history, called the Nighttrain228. The Nighttrain228 is a planned 228-mile (367 km) attempt to swim down the California coast from Point Conception to Coronado in August 2013. Under the direction of captain Vito Bialla, its relay members include Phil Cutti, David Holscher, Zach Jirkovsky, Luane Rowe, Blair Cannon, and Grace van der Byl.
In 2007, a few swimmers in the San Francisco Bay Area decided they would attempt a swim across the English Channel the following year. They joined a few casual acquaintances for some training swims in the Bay, and by 2008 Night Train Swimmers was formed to raise money for a local non-profit organization by completing a five-person relay crossing. 18 months after deciding to organize the swim, the Night Train Swimmers completed the fastest five-person crossing of the English Channel that year and raised more than US$25,000 for their local community.
The Lifehouse Foundation was the first recipient of Night Train Swimmers' support of people with developmental disabilities.
Later, the Night Train Swimmers completed a relay swim from Sacramento to Tiburon to raise money for the Reed School Foundation, supporting their local public school district. The following year, the team stepped up to raise money for Wounded Warrior Project.
2012 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year Nomination
The Night Train Swimmers not only raised a mind-boggling US$1.2 million (and counting for Semper Fi) in their non-stop 339-mile (546 km) charity swim attempt down the California coast from San Francisco (SF) to Santa Barbara (SB), but they also endured 6 days of non-stop swimming through endless blooms of venomous jellyfish and water than never got above 14°C. Hour after hour, day after day, the six swimmers - Phil Cutti, Patti Bauernfeind, Dave Holsher, Joseph Locke, Kim Chambers and Zack Jirkovsky - battled the elements under the watchful eye of Captain Vito Bialla. They followed channel swimming rules, always mindful that their temporary discomforts were helping injured soldiers whose lifetimes are filled with discomfort. Although Mother Nature won this skirmish when the hardened group of intrepid adventurers was stopped after 109 hours by endless blooms of venomous jellyfish, the victory was ultimately theirs. For the audacity of their vision, for their charitable efforts on behalf of men and women in uniform, for the US$1.2 million raised, the indomitable Night Train Swimmers are worthy nominees for the 2012 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
Board of Directors
The Night Team Swimmers are a eclectic group of accomplished and passionate people with an incredible breath of talents who include Vito Bialla, Matthew Davie Ph.D., John Mathews, Scott Stiteler, David Holscher, Phil Cutti, William "Spanky" Gibson, JC Sheppard, Emily Young, Darrin Connolly, Kim Chambers and Gordon Clute.
SF to SB Relay
The Night Train Swimmers attempted the world's longest non-stop ocean relay swim attempt (339 miles or 545.4km) in September 2012 with Phil Cutti, Patti Bauernfeind, Dave Holscher, Joe Locke, Kim Chambers and Zack Jirkovsky, and crew Vito Bialla and Patrick Horn. It was halted after 6 days due to bloom after bloom of venomous jellyfish.
2012 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Nomination
The Night Train Swimmers were nominated for the 2012 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year award. Its World Open Water Swimming Association nomination reads, The Night Train Swimmers provide an ongoing opportunity to marathon swimmers of the hardiest kind. In a selfless effort to bring awareness and financial support to a number of non-profit organizations with Semper Fi at its core, the group of swimmers from the San Francisco area envisions marathon swims that require the ultimate of audacity and courage. The longer, the colder, the rougher the conditions are, the more engaged the Night Train Swimmers become – and seemingly the more money they raise for good causes. They welcome the unexpected. They relish on risk. They love the challenge. They encourage only those hardened enough and selfless enough to join their mission: to improve the lives of people around the world by raising money for non-profit organizations through unprecedented marathon swims. For their vision, selflessness and seeking their potential in the most inhospitable conditions possible, the Night Train Swimmers are a worthy nominee for the 2012 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
- Night Train Swimmers website
- Night Train Swimmers Are Looking Good
- Night Train Swimmers Head Off In Reverse
- Making Time for Breaking Records and Helping Others
- Night Train Swimmers On Course To The Farallones
- Night Train Swimmer Are Off Radar
- Open Water Swimming website
- Drive Up, Swim Down, An Unprecedented California Adventure
- Kraving For Food In The Open Water
- World Open Water Swimming Association
- Night Train Swimmers, SF to SB Relay
- World Open Water Swimming Association
- 2012 World Open Water Swimming Offerings of the Year Nominations
- Night Train Swimmers, Offering Of The Year
- Night Train Swimmers Announce World Record Relay Attempt
- Mighty Joe Takes Off From Devil's Teeth In The Farallons
- Night Train Swimmers Break Lake Record In Lake Powell