Chasing Amy - Why I'm following a marathon swimmer from 1958


Amy Hiland was a competitive Marathon Swimmer from Long Beach, California active in the late 1950's who learned to swim at 28 and within five years had completed some of the worlds most challenging swims. 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. 

Amy was much more than a swimming housewife, she was a swimmer, and an incredible one at that.

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.

“Fear Is strange, I am frightened to death by a spider, but was not afraid that night.”
— Amy Hiland, on her Catalina Channel Crossing


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 will begin Chasing Amy and will undertake the challenge of 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.