‘Creek senior swam across the sea


BEAVERCREEK — If any Beavercreek High School teachers ask students how they spent their summer, Chloe Otten will have a humdinger of a story to tell.

The rising senior was one of 30 to participate late last month in the Strait of Messina Swim, a two-mile dip across the Mediterranean Sea from Punta Faro in Sicily to Cannitello, Calabria in Italy. It’s an annual event hosted by Water World Swim that began in 1990.

Otten and Cincinnati Marlins swim club teammates — Sydney Herr and Natalie Gockerman — heard about it from someone who had participated in open waters swimming and jumped right in, so to speak.

“We looked it up through Water World,” Otten said. “We basically just looked at it and thought it was this cool opportunity. It’s almost a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do it.”

Only 30 can participate so Otten and her teammates had to move quickly to get physicals, fill out the application, and show they were able to finish the lengthy swim.

Otten, who was eighth in the state in the 500 yard freestyle this past winter, was the first to finish the daunting trek (38 minutes). But that was the last thing on her mind before, during, and after.

“I made sure when I was swimming I was enjoying the views,” Otten said. “The weather was just beautiful. Seeing Italy, and turning around and seeing Sicily, especially with you right in the middle, there was honestly nothing I would change about it. It was breathtaking.”

Swimming two miles across open waters can also be breathtaking — literally — even for someone like the distance-oriented Otten, who swims “eight days a week” with her club team.

“The amount of adrenaline going through me just helped me finish it,” she said. “Once I got to the end I was like barely tired.”

Otten didn’t encounter any sea creatures, other than some jellyfish near the shore and some smaller fish during the swim. At first it didn’t seem like she was in open water at all.

“It was beautiful, clear water,” she said. “It was almost like I was swimming in a pool. Until it just completely dropped off to the bottom where you couldn’t see anything.”

And of course, being in open waters there is a chance a ship or two may make a visit.

“At one point I looked up and this cargo ship is like zooming past us.” Otten said. “The waves from that were at least seven feet tall that I had to swim over. Personally I thought that made it more fun.”

There was also a serious side to the swim. Otten and her Marlins teammates are using their participation to help raise funds for pediatric cancer. The girls set a goal to raise $50,000 as part of the Swim Across America, Make Waves to Fight Cancer campaign. So far they have $2,000 raised, but most of the fund-raising efforts have yet to really kick in.

No doubt they will make quite a splash.

Reach Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

No posts to display