August 10, 2011 — Darren Miller of Delmont, Pennsylvania accomplished the 2nd leg of his Ocean’s Seven challenge last Wednesday by swimming across the 24 mile Catalina Channel in 9 hours and 15 minutes. Miller began his journey at 11:28 AM (PST) and completed the swim at approximately
8:43 AM (PST). Hardships that Miller endured include treacherous water conditions, colder water temperatures than anticipated and difficult navigation through heavy seaweed, known as kelp monsters, at the beginning and end of his swim.
The rough water took a toll on Miller even prior to his swim, as he experienced mild seasickness during the charter ride to Catalina Island. The less than favorable conditions also proved challenging for Miller when receiving hydration and nourishment from his crew, due to the boat’s intense rocking and risk of being sucked underneath. The 8-10 degree drop in water temperature from days past complicated matters as well, being that Miller was unable to properly acclimate to the 59-62 degree water. Despite the aforementioned difficulties, according to Miller, “it was overall a great swim, an awesome challenge and I am glad it wasn’t easy.”
Immediately upon his return, Miller began training to prepare for his third swim of the Ocean’s Seven challenge, the Molokai Channel, set to take place Friday, October 21, 2011 at 5:00 AM (PST). Miller faces different challenges with the 27 mile, Molokai Channel than he did with both the English and Catalina Channels, being that the expected water temperature is in the mid to upper 70’s. Heat stroke is a major concern for Miller and he plans to lose 20 pounds and incorporate faster, sprinting type workouts into his training to build speed in preparation for the swim. The Molokai Channel is also dangerous, as it is known for its strong currents, sharp coral reef beds and aggressive marine life, including tiger sharks and deadly Portuguese man-of-war and box jellyfish. Despite these impending challenges, Miller is confident that the Catalina Channel was a great warm-up for the Molokai and that he will be prepared for the 12-15 hour journey. Successful completion of the Molokai Channel swim will bring Miller even closer to completing his Ocean’s Seven goal.
The Ocean’s Seven challenge, which is regarded as the world’s seven most difficult channel swims, has never been accomplished by anyone to date and consists of swimming across the English, Catalina, Molokai, Irish and Tsugaru Channels, Cook Strait and the Strait of Gibraltar. After having successfully completed the English, Catalina and Molokai Channels, Miller plans to tackle the Strait of Gibraltar, as well as participate in the Tampa Bay and Manhattan Island Marathons in 2012.
Though completing the “Ocean’s Seven” challenge is a personal goal of Miller’s, it also serves a more meaningful purpose for him. Miller is swimming to benefit 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.
Miller is accepting charitable donations towards the “Forever Fund” on his website at www.darren- miller.com. Contributions may also be made by purchasing EnergyCare USA products through his website. As one of Miller’s supporting sponsors, EnergyCare will donate 25% of each sale referenced from his page to Team Forever, which manages contributions to the “Forever Fund.” Miller is also sponsored by Trustmont Financial Group, his premier sponsor and East Suburban Sports Medicine Center. Every contribution is important to the cause and charitable donations to the “Forever Fund” will not only help save lives, but will provide the opportunity for funding of vital medical research concerning infant cardiothoracic care.
For further information regarding potential sponsorships or media development for Darren Miller and the “Forever Fund,” contact Caitlin Vancas at 412-871-7125. Photos and video footage of Miller’s endeavors are also available upon request.
Team Forever, a non-profit organization which manages contributions to the “Forever Fund,” was established by Darren Miller, Kathy Cartieri Mehl and their families 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 Miller’s website at darren-miller.com.