Group to swim from Santa Barbara to San Diego for SEAL charity


Six swimmers from the non-profit Night Train Swimmers organization took off Friday to raise money for the Navy SEAL Foundation.

The group, which raises funds and awareness through open-water swims, will attempt to swim 228 miles, from Point Conception, Calif., in southern Santa Barbara County to San Diego. Today, the lead swimmers are near Oceanside, Calif. The ones in the back are off of Oxnard.

“Night Train has a long history of raising money for deserving organizations. We are proud to partner with the Navy SEAL Foundation for this swim and to finish at the San Diego Yacht Club, near their headquarters at Coronado Island,” said Vito Bialla, captain of the swim and a decorated Vietnam veteran. “Supporting our Navy SEALs and their families is a great honor.”

The team of world-class swimmers includes Californians Phil Cutti, David Holscher, Zach Jirkovsky, Luane Rowe, Blair Cannon, and Grace van der Byl, a couple of whom have completed swims across the English Channel and to the Farallon Islands near San Francisco.

SEAL Medal of Honor recipients, former senator and Nebraska governor Bob Kerrey and retired Lt. Mike Thornton will ride alongside the swimmers to the finish line.

Meanwhile, runner Mike Trevino will run the 300 miles on land parallel to the swimmers’ course, planning to meet them when they make it back to shore.

You can track the team’s progress via the map above. To see what the night rain swimmers are all about, check out this video from an event to raise money for the Semper Fi Fund last year.


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