Conquering the open ocean

Mackenzie Miller
Mackenzie Miller

By Paul Drewes bio | email

KAILUA (KHNL) - Sunny skies brought many out to the beach, and taking a swim is a perfect way to cool off from these hot summer days. On the Windward side of Oahu, one of these beautiful beaches is also the training ground for a record setting island athlete.

Mackenzie Miller is hitting Kailua Beach for a swim.

Something she's been doing all her life.

"I love being in the water, I've been in it since I was two weeks old and I've loved it ever since", said Miller.

But this is the first time this 19-year old has been in the ocean since her record setting swim last weekend, when she swam across the Ka Iwi Channel.

That's right, 26 miles from Molokai to Oahu, swimming for nearly 15 hours in the open ocean.

She's just the third woman to do it, and is the youngest to accomplish this feat.

Why would someone want to spend hours swimming miles in the ocean?

"I love being alone in the open water, I can think, my mind wanders, it's always been a favorite to me", said Miller.

Unlike this relaxing swim along the shore, Mackenzie had plenty to think about during the trip across the Channel... sharks, jellyfish, and especially the early morning start on Molokai.

Miller says, "jumping in at 3:00 a.m, I thought I am about to swim at night - oh my gosh, but then I jumped in and the water was so warm - I had no fear at all".

That warm water made a difference in this Channel crossing, but in her last attempt -- the frigid waters of the English Channel stopped this island swimmer halfway across.

Her dad, did make it across the English Channel last summer, but Mackenzie still has bragging rights in her house, as her time across the Ka Iwi Channel beat dad's time 30 years ago by two hours, and she hopes this accomplishment will inspire others to get away from shore and really go for a swim.

"I hope it gets more people involved in distance swimming"

"It's a real hard obstacle in life to conquer but when you do its overwhelming and awesome".

Mackenzie is heading off to college next week, and after she is done with school she says she would like to try the English Channel again.

But before she does that, she wants to do some more cold water - long distance swims.