Seven Sisters College Women to Swim an Historic Open-Water Marathon Across Catalina Channel in Both Directions

This Friday evening, six intrepid female marathon swimmers, representing the 7 Sisters Colleges, will be swimming from Palos Verdes to Catalina Island and back: a relay swim of over 40 miles. The goal? To inspire women everywhere to pursue their dreams.

Arriving At The End of The Catalina Open Water Channel Swim

The two-way Catalina Channel open-water swim will be completed by a group of six women representing the iconic Seven Sister Colleges. The swim is scheduled to begin in the evening of Friday, June 16 from the Palos Verdes Peninsula; the total distance to be swam is approximately 40 miles. The women swimming across the channel are all either current students or alumnae of the #SevenSisters Colleges (which include #SmithCollege, #Wellesley College, #BrynMawr, #MountHolyoke, #Vassar, #Barnard and originally #Radcliffe [now part of Harvard]).

The Mission Statement for the Swim: "As Seven Sister College students and graduates, we all believe in the power of women supporting women to achieve greatness. The six of us on this relay represent women of different ages, interests and geographical location, bound by a fierce love for challenge and passion for excellence that we developed at our respective colleges. We are embarking on this relay to be an example of empowerment; the empowerment found when women take on an incredible challenge as a team and work together, and empowerment via paying it forward and being a role model for those who want to dream big and fulfill their own goals."

"The mental toughness and grit that each of these women demonstrates as a marathon open-water swimmer, is truly remarkable. They are each role models for the rest of us in their self-discipline, grace, positivity, collaboration and willingness to take on extreme challenges."

Natalie Bergman

Seven Sisters Relay Support

The team is comprised of Abigail Bergman #openwaterabby (Smith ’18), Rebecca Nevitt (Wellesley), Charlotte Samuels (Smith ‘20), Eliza Cummings (Smith ’17), Gabriela Kovacikova (Wellesley ’14), and Cathleen Pruden (Mt Holyoke '16).  Each woman in the relay will swim one-hour shifts starting first from the California mainland to Catalina Island, then after touching shore, turning around and swimming all the way back.

Each of these women has competed at the college level, at times swimming against one another in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (#NEWMAC), as well as pursuing individual open-water and pool accomplishments. In 2016, Bergman swam solo across the Catalina Channel; Cummings completed a Plymouth to Provincetown Crossing. Samuels is the youngest swimmer to have completed the Triple Crown of Swimming (English Channel, Catalina Channel and circumnavigation of Manhattan Island). Nevitt has swam both Manhattan Island and the Catalina Channel. Pruden came in 3rd place in the NCAA Division III Championship 400 IM in 2016. Kovacikova swam the English Channel in 2013. Nevitt and Bergman have solo English Channel Swims planned for later this summer of 2017.

The swimmers are being supported by an all-female kayak crew of four athletes: Jax Cole, Heather Barber Ph.D. (former #Wellesley Swim Coach), Alicia Bartley, J.D., and Melissa King (#Wellesley). Each of these women has also achieved formidable swim and kayaking accomplishments of their own.

The women’s upcoming Seven Sisters Channel Relay will be followable by live tracker on the following website The women are available for interviews prior to race departure on June 16.

Media Contact: Abby Bergman, phone: 213-422-1409, email:

Source: Abigail Bergman

Original Source:

Source: Seven Sisters Relay


Categories: Recreation and Sports, Women's Issues, Swimming

Tags: #catalinacrossing, #marathonswimmer, #openwaterAbby, #openwaterswimmer, #smithswimanddive #smithcollege #wellesleycollege #barnard #mtho

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About Abigail R Bergman

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Abigail Bergman is a 22-year-old Smith College graduate with a degree in neuroscience and exercise performance. Bergman is a marathon open water swimmer and butterfly swimmer and is beginning graduate school at the University of Chicago this fall.

Abby Bergman
Abby Bergman
Open-water swimmer, grad student, Abigail R Bergman
Abigail R Bergman
Culver City, CA
United States