Record setting marathon open water swimmer: Kimberley Chambers
Record setting marathon open water swimmer, Kimberley Chambers began her journey here in the Piopio community swimming pools. Since her life has taken many turns and now resides in the San Francisco Bay area, America. A former ballerina, and rower at UC Berkeley, Kim rediscovered swimming just six years ago to rehabilitate a life-threatening leg injury.
After a freak accident, she was diagnosed with Acute Compartment Syndrome in her right leg, and a mere 30 minutes from amputation. Kimberleys’ determination and with much uncertainty and multiple surgeries, she spent two years in rehabilitation.
As part of her rehabilitation, the 2015 Halberg Award Sportswoman of the Year nominee, she started to swim for the first time since primary school in New Zealand. Just seven months into her rehabilitation, she swam from Alcatraz to Aquatic Park. Later that same year, Kimberley also ran an ultramarathon - the Quad Dipsea.
Kimberley's achievements also include a world record , becoming the first woman ever to swim from the Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco. A gruelling and dangerous 30 mile swim (over 17 hours of non-stop swimming) through one of the most highly populated Great White shark habitats in the world.
Since she has completed multiple open water swims around the world: a successful relay swim across the English Channel, a relay around Manhattan, solo swims of Cook Strait (17 miles), the length of Lake Tahoe (22 miles), Molokai Channel (26 miles), Strait of Gibraltar (10 miles), Catalina Channel (20 miles), English Channel (21 miles) and a solo swim across Tsugaru Strait in Japan.
As a nominee for the World Open Water Swimming Association Woman of the Year Award, she continues to follow traditional marathon swimming rules: wearing just a regular swimsuit, latex cap, earplugs and goggles.
Her ambitions to complete the Oceans Seven swim challenge, is the open-water swimming equivalent to the Seven Summits of mountaineering. These seven swims are chosen for particularly challenging water conditions (strong currents/cold water) with significant wildlife risks such as sharks and jellyfish. Kimberley is the 3rd woman and 6th person ever to complete this challenge, and proudly the first New Zealander.
Kimberley and five team mates also broke the existing world record for the longest continuous open water swim. They swam non-stop for 5 days and 5 nights, swimming over 300 miles without wetsuits in the San Francisco Bay.
Since her list of achievements her inspiring story has also featured in an international documentary. “Kim is an inspiration to everyone she meets. Her commitment to personal growth and challenge and the lessons she's taken away from these experiences are relevant to anyone in pursuit of a life goal.”
Join the Piopio Community Swimming pools trust to hear Kimberley's inspiring story Wednesday 21st December.
The Piopio swimming pool community trust have completed many improvements in the pool complex , including the little pools’ new paint job, the showers and water meter are working now (thanks to Coxy and the Piopio Community Trust's grant).
In preparation for the summer season there will be new signs, newly trained lifeguards, and the donation plaques to adorn the walls.
New branding recognising The Lines Company ongoing sponsorship as a valued partnership is significant for the groups viability moving forward .
The Buy-a-Brick campaign continues to financially boost the funds and now that the Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with the Ministry of Education and the two schools, the Trust's status is clearer and gives direction for the future. Intentions to provide a heated pool are underway and grants are still being processed for funds for..watch this space.