Chasing Amy
Chasing Amy
The swimming housewife makes a comeback
 

Amy Hiland was a competitive Marathon Swimmer from Long Beach, California active in the late 1950's who learned to swim at 29 and within five years had completed some of the worlds most challenging swims in the world. Affectionately known as the “swimming housewife” Amy swam without fear in the most treacherous and unforgiving waters known to (wo)man.

Not much is written on her successes, and she essentially disappeared from the swimming scene after her completion of the Amy Hiland Swim at age 37, but I am on a mission to share her story. 

Frequently referred to in news articles as "pretty" "blonde" and "beautiful" few news outlets took the time to appreciate her auspicious athletic achievements. Unfortunately, not much has changed in modern news media and its coverage of female athletes. 

Like Amy, I learned to swim in my late 20s. I had no previous athletic experience, and no swimming experience at all, but I took to cold water like a fish and have never looked back.

I discovered Amy when I was training for my first marathon swim in the summer of 2016. I was in Port Townsend, WA for the send off of the sailboat Race to Alaska, and as I was reviewing the course I got to thinking – could I swim that? It was then that I learned that Amy had been the first woman ever to make it across, beating out celebrity swimmer Marilyn Bell and completing it on the first try. When I learned Amy’s story I was immediately intrigued. I have spent the months since researching her life story, her motivation, and her swims.   

So, on Saturday July 1st, 2017, I began Chasing Amy and I will continue completing as many of Amy Hiland's swims as possible: Including  the Bremmerton to Alki Beach Swim,  huntington Beach to Long Beach Swim, the Catalina Channel, and the Strait of San Juan de Fuca and will raise money for organizations dedicated to addressing women athletes in the media. Follow along! 

 
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Amy's Swims

Huntingon Beach to Long Beach (c. 1954) 
Salton Sea (c. 1954) 
Catalina Channel (c. 1958 traditional route)
San Juan de Fuca Strait (c. 1957)
Catalina island to Long Beach (record breaking swim 24 + hours, c. 1958) age 37
Bremerton to Alki Beach (Puget Sound) (c. 1958)

Planned but never completed:

Nanaimo BC to Vancouver BC
Roundtrip English channel

Melissa's Swims

Club to Anita Rock (April, 2016) 
Five Coves of Death (May, 2016)
Width of Lake Tahoe (September 2016)
ATT Park to Anita Rock (April 2017)
Bay to Breakers (May 2017)
Wharf to Wharf (May 2017) 

Planned: 
Amy Hiland Swim - Bremerton to Alki Beach (July, 2017)
San Juan de Fuca Strait (September, 2017) 
English Channel (June 2018)


Huntington Beach to Long Beach (2018)
Nanaimo BC to Vancouver BC (2018) 

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Amy Hiland was one of the world’s greatest marathon swimmers. She learned to swim at 28 and within five years went on to conquer some of the greatest challenges known to the sport of marathon swimming.

She was the very first woman to swim from Catalina island to Long Beach, breaking two standing records at the time as the longest ocean swim by a woman and the longest time spent in the water (24 hours and 25 seconds). She was also the first woman to ever cross the San Juan de Fuca Strait, a grueling ten+ mile crossing from Wash to Canada in 50 degree water.

She was a pioneer for women athletes as the first woman to be officially recognized by the AAU for a channel swim.  She pushed boundaries and broke records. Earning her the nickname “swimming housewife." 

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My name is Melissa Blaustein and I am a marathon swimmer and self proclaimed Amy Hiland enthusiast. 

On dry land, I am the founder of a global advocacy organization called Allied for Startups that represents startups in policy and government. I also serve as the Director of International Advocacy at the Fuel Freedom Foundation where I manage the non-profit’s digital program and its Chair on Global Energy and Social Development in Africa. Get in touch with me MelissaBlaustein@Gmail.com 

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