MHS Alum Dominates Open Water

Caroline Colwell, News Editor

When most people think about swimming, their view is confined to the four sides of a swimming pool; for adventure swimmer and Miramonte alum Jamie Patrick ‘89, the boundaries are endless. 

Patrick began swimming with the Miramonte Swim Club at the age of seven and has not stopped since. He competed on the varsity swim team throughout his four years at Miramonte, where he swam the 100 backstroke and 200 IM. Patrick was North Coast Champion in the 100 breast during his senior year. He then attended Long Beach State. After two years, Long Beach cut their swimming programs, at which point Patrick was offered a full-ride scholarship to the University of Hawaii, where he finished his college swimming career.

After college, Patrick spent his next 10 years focusing on training for triathlons. Among many other triathlons, he completed 15 Ironman triathlons, which include a 2.5 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run, as well as a Triple Ironman triathlon, which consisted of a 7.2 mile swim, a 336 mile bike ride, and a 78 mile run.

In 2003 Patrick came in seventh at the Ultraman World Championships – a triathlon consisting of a 6.2 mile swim, a 260 mile bike ride, and a 52 mile run. He was also the triathlon’s overall Swim Champion. He competed in his second Ultraman in 2009, after which he decided to return to swimming.

“I wanted to do something big,” Patrick said. In 2010 Patrick swam two lengths of Lake Tahoe nonstop, a 44 mile swim.

For the past five years, he has done various ultra swims. He swam 111 miles nonstop down the Sacramento River, which took him 31 hours. He swam from Spain to Africa, out to the Farallon Islands, and has completed eight, 12-hour swims all over the world.

“I think the most rewarding achievement so far is showing others that you can do things that you think are impossible,” Patrick said. “We all have the ability to push ourselves. Until you try you do not know. Five years ago, I could never have imagined doing the things I do.”

A typical training day for Patrick consists of six 9000 yard sets, twice a day. When Patrick is in full training, he can total 70 miles in the water in one week. He has an Endless Pool in his garage.  During the week, Patrick usually trains in the pool, but swims in open water on weekends.

“Swimming in the open water you never know what you may encounter,” Patrick said. Sharks are always a concern. While swimming in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico he encountered whale sharks, hammerhead sharks, sailfish, dolphins, and seals. During his Sacramento River Swim he swam with dozens of river otters who “did not like me swimming in their river,” Patrick said.

Patrick is always thinking of new swims to challenge himself in the future. “I spin the globe next to my desk and dream of the possibilities,” Patrick said. Some of the swims he has in mind include swimming from Africa to Italy, around Manhattan Island, across the length of the English Channel twice, in Lake Powell in the Grand Canyon, and many more.

Patrick encourages people to consider taking swimming to the next level: “I think the most important thing is to always have fun,” Patrick said. “I am still swimming because I have fun doing it. Work hard and listen to your coach. Push yourself because the rewards can be great. It took me a few years to realize this but when I did, amazing things happened.”