February 25, 2013 — Delmont, Pennsylvania, Darren E. Miller is planning to complete the sixth swim of his Ocean’s Seven challenge on Wednesday, March 20, 2013, pending favorable weather conditions. The Cook Strait, a 16 mile swim which connects the North and South Islands of New Zealand, will be Miller’s sixth channel swim out of seven that he must complete to become the first American to accomplish the Ocean’s Seven challenge.
The Ocean’s Seven challenge, only completed by Stephen Redmond of Ireland, consists of swimming across seven of the world’s most difficult channels: the English, Catalina, Molokai, Gibraltar Strait, Tsugaru and North Channels and the Cook Strait. Having completed the Tsugaru Channel in July 2012, Strait of Gibraltar in May 2012, Molokai Channel in record breaking time in October 2011, Catalina Channel in August 2011 and the English Channel in July 2010, Miller is a strong contender to become the first American to successfully complete the Ocean’s Seven challenge.
Miller’s swim across the Cook Strait will begin at daylight and is anticipated to last 8-10 hours in 60 degree waters. The Cook Strait is unique in that Miller is unable to start or finish the swim on actual land, due to rock ‘walls’ on either side. In addition, this is the only swim of the Ocean’s Seven challenge in which participants are permitted to exit the water for a ten minute period of time if a Great White Shark is spotted. This is due to the area’s significant shark population; one in six swimmers encounter sharks during their crossing.
Along with the possibility of encountering sharks, Miller faces the risk of being stung by Box Jellyfish, whose stings can be fatal to humans. Miller may also experience tidal waves and heavy chop during his crossing and must avoid dehydration. To date, only 71 successful Cook Strait crossings have been made by 61 individuals from 8 countries. Hypothermia and change in weather conditions are the most common reasons for failure to complete the swim. Per open-water marathon swimming regulations, Miller must complete this swim equipped in only a Speedo, swimming cap and goggles.
Due to the Cook Strait swim’s timing, unlike training for his last five channels, all of Miller’s water training and preparation had to be done by indoor pool. The lack of open-water swimming opportunities in the winter and having to train in warm, still-water pools, made preparation for the Cook Strait difficult. Miller plans to arrive early in New Zealand to acclimate his body to the new water temperature and swimming conditions.
As a result of Miller’s aggressive list of swimming accomplishments in 2012, including the completion of three out of four marathon swims within a four-week time span, Miller was nominated for the ‘Most Impressive Body of Work’ at the Global Marathon Swimming Awards. After successfully swimming the Strait of Gibraltar in May 2012, Miller went on to complete the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in New York City, the Tsugaru Channel in Japan and won the 27-mile Red River Swim in North Dakota. All three of these swims were completed within a four week time frame.
Though completing difficult open-water swims and the “Ocean’s Seven” challenge are personal goals of Miller’s, they also serve a more meaningful purpose for him. Miller is swimming to benefit and raise awareness for Team Forever and the “Forever Fund,” a charitable foundation he played an integral role in establishing along with Cathy Cartieri Mehl and their families. The “Forever Fund” is dedicated to the memory of Mehl’s father, Anthony Frank Cartieri, and aids families in their struggle to afford the costs associated with infant cardiothoracic surgery that takes place in the cardiothoracic unit of UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Team Forever is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Miller, which manages contributions to the “Forever Fund.”
Miller is accepting charitable donations through Team Forever for the “Forever Fund” on his website at darren-miller.com. 100% of all donations go toward the “Forever Fund,” as Miller is fully sponsored by Trustmont Financial Group for all of his swimming ventures. Darren Miller’s additional sub-sponsors are 4CTechnologies, East Suburban Sports Medicine Center, Elisco Advertising, GNC Nutrition and mslDirect. To date; approximately $60,000 has been raised through Miller’s charitable efforts. Every contribution is important and charitable donations to Team Forever and the “Forever Fund” not only help save lives, but helps families cover the costs associated with caring for their child at the hospital; including travel, lodging and prescription costs. Examples of families which Team Forever and the “Forever Fund” have assisted are available by visiting Miller’s website.
For information regarding sponsorships, interviews and other media development for Darren Miller, Team Forever and the “Forever Fund,” contact Miller directly at 724-468-1062. Miller is also available for motivational speaking engagements/appearances and photo or video footage of his endeavors is available upon request. During the swim, Miller’s location, along with pictures and live updates from the crew will be found on his blog and by following him on Facebook and Twitter.
Team Forever, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization which manages contributions to the “Forever Fund,” was established by Darren E. Miller and Cathy Cartieri Mehl in December 2009. The “Forever Fund” is a foundation dedicated to the memory of Mehl’s father, Anthony Frank Cartieri and aids families in their struggle to afford the costs associated with infant cardiothoracic surgery that takes place in the cardiothoracic unit of UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. The “Forever Fund” not only helps to save lives, but provides the opportunity for funding of vital medical research concerning infant cardiothoracic care. Information pertaining to Team Forever and the “Forever Fund” can be found on Darren E. Miller’s website at darren-miller.com.