Laura Vartain Horn
Laura Vartain Horn was part of the first all-female team to successfully swim from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Farallon Islands off the coast of northern California, U.S.A.
Horn struggled and triumphed with relay teammates Lynn Kubasek, Kim Chambers, Cathy Delneo, Melissa King and Patti Bauernfeind from the Golden Gate Bridge to the South Farallons Island in 16 hours and 29 minutes. The six hardy women went through three rotations on their relay through the Red Triangle (watch visual gallery here).
"The seas, generally 15-20 feet, were larger than the escort boat," said Vito Bialla, the team's pilot. "Plus it was cold: 49°F (9.5°C), but the enthusiasm and passion of the women never wavered."
"I feel so incredibly lucky to have gotten to swim with such a fiercely strong group of women. I met Melissa King. She was the same here, steadfast and upbeat. I so admire her strength and steadfast cheerfulness," recalled Lynn. "Alas, my preparations against motion sickness (ginger and Dramamine lite) were for naught. I got sick very early in and barely kept a drop or morsel down the entire voyage. It was an interesting day - and I cannot say enough about each and every team member. Among my favorite memories of the swim was on my first round swimming, I thought that I missed the kelp (and grass and rocks) from Laguna Beach because it acts as a marker to let you know you are making forward progress. About 5 minutes later, Vito shouted "Kelp!" and I swam past and over part of a kelp pattie I felt at home. The thought of the commonality of the water made me feel completely at ease. Then I saw a couple of huge ominous purple bell jellies, but it was OK. Vito also said they saw the island during my 1st round (the 6th hour) as the sun started to come out which was so cool."
Lynn become blindingly ill from dry-heaving, but her smile is still plastered on her face. "What a GREAT thing to get to do. I was so sick and I really hit bottom but yanked it up. Would do it again in a heartbeat. That was FUN! What a great group and a great cause."