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!