Neil van der Byl
Neil van der Byl is an American open water swimmer and active Observer for the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association (SBCSA) and Catalina Channel Swimming Federation. In cooperation with his wife Grace van der Byl, he created a database for the support crew of Catalina Channel swimmers. Neil is an active support coordinator for open water swims and trains new paddlers in safety and feeding techniques (including night swimming) - many of these techniques were adopted from the teachings of a channel swimming support mentor David Clark who pioneered kayaking for Catalina Channel crossings and offers annual support clinics.
When supporting several accomplished open water swimmers in different types of races, channel crossings, and long distance training swims (his favorite being wife Grace van der Byl), Neil uses various Hobie (pedaling) kayaks and navigation / feeding equipment suited for both day-time and night-time swims ... some of which are sometimes in pretty rough conditions. Neil is one of the few support paddlers that can complete Catalina Channel crossings non-stop (some of which last up to 14+ hours).
In May 2014, he paddled for Kristin Jones of Alaska who won 2 of the 4 legs of the 4-day S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge stage swim in Arizona. In June '14 he returned to NY with Grace van der Byl to compete in the 2014 MIMS swim, which they won.
Van der Byl won the 2014 Streeter Award for Service to Marathon Swimming together with his wife Grace van der Byl.
SoCal Open-water Swim Support
He manages the SoCal Open-water Swim Support service together with Grace van der Byl.
Observer & Support Resume
- World Record Holder for Longest "8 Bridges Hudson River Swim" Stage Swim;
- World Record for fastest Catalina to Mainland crossing - Catalina Channel
- Open Water Swimming Hall of Fame: Distance Swim Challenge;
- Nominated for World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year)
- Records for all four stages of the first S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge
- Winner of "C3" Cape Circumnavigation Challenge
- Winner of the 2014 Manhattan Island Marathon Swim - #1 America's Top 100 Open Water Swims
Anne Cleveland (Hall of Fame)
Evan Morrison (Santa Barbara Channel Swimming record holder)
Tobey-Anne Saracino (Triple Crown)
Tina Neill 1st to complete 54 mile San Clemente Island to Mainland swim (nominated for World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year)
Michael Renford (Triple Crown)
Long Beach Swim Focus Catalina Relay (1st Catalina crossing under 7 hours)
("Are we there yet?" Successful Catalina Channel Relay - including kids as young as 14)
OakStreakers - 18-person tandem relay across Catalina Channel
... and a few others including the 2017 Pan-American Colibrí Swim, a cross-border swim between the USA and Mexico and a charity swim to raise awareness and funds for the Colibri Center for Human Rights in the Pacific Ocean from Imperial Beach near San Diego, California, USA to Tijuana, Mexico on 5 May 2017.
- Catalina Channel Swimming Federation website
- Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association
- 1 + 1 > 2 In The Open Water Swimming World
- Navigating With The First Couple Of Open Water Swimming
- Swim Support In Southern California
- Brad Lundblad Overcomes Lyme, Completes 4-Day S.C.A.R.
- 4 Long Days, 4 Longer Swims For Kristin Jones
- Arizona S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge Facebook page
- Support Request Form
- Join SoCal Open-water Swim Support (for crew / kayakers)
- Tough As Nails Across The Catalina Channel
- Catalina Channel Swimming Federation
- Sea Monkeys Hang Around Seal Beach Pier
- Swim Long Beach Have Serious Fun
- MSF Global Marathon Swimming Award Finalists
- Gracie & Neil CBS News 8 Feature (Catalina)
- Fox 5 News - Catalina to Mainland World Record - 2012
- Gracie setting Catalina Channel to Mainland World Record
- Gracie talking about the 100-mile paddle down the Hudson river which she swam during the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim
- Gracie explaining how to mix Carbo Pro - her fuel of choice for long swims
- Team spirit: a critical component of a successful swim crew!
- 1 advantage of Mirage Drive-propelled Hobie kayaks: video footage of a silky smooth swim stroke without falling behind the swimmer
- Gracie's final stretch down the Hudson River for the 2014 MIMS
- San Diego's Channel 8 News - MIMS 2014
- Streeter Award Given To Husband And Wife Duo
- Happy Wife, Happy Open Water Life
- Shark Encounters In Channels Around The World
- Catalina Channel Swimming Federation