Phil Cutti is the brewer and co-founder of Headlands Brewing Company and formerly an Exercise Physiologist at the Human Performance Lab at Stanford University in California, U.S.A. He is also a member of the Night Train Swimmers and a successful relay team that swam 26.4 nautical miles from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Farallon Islands on May 20, 2011 in 14:45:08 with Darrin Connolly, Dave Holscher, Vito Bialla, John Mathews and Kim Chambers. He completed the Nighttrain228 relay down the coast of California between 22-26 August 2013.
SF to SB Relay
Cutti is also a member of the Night Train Swimmers that attempted the SF to SB Relay between 23-28 September 2012, the world's longest non-stop ocean relay swim attempt (339 miles or 545.4km) together with Patti Bauernfeind, Dave Holscher, Joe Locke, Kim Chambers, Zack Jirkovsky, and crew Vito Bialla and Patrick Horn. It was halted after 6 days due to bloom after bloom of venomous jellyfish.
California Coastal Swim
Cutti participated in the California Coastal Swim or the Nighttrain228, the Night Train Swimmers's world record setting non-stop ocean relay, the longest relay swim in history with its 228-mile (367 km) swim down the California coast from Gaviota State Park to the San Diego Yacht Club between 22-26 August 2013. Under the direction of captain Vito Bialla with crew Hal McCormick and Patrick Horn, its relay members include Cutti, David Holscher, Zach Jirkovsky, Luane Rowe, Blair Cannon, and Grace van der Byl.
As a pitcher in college he suffered UCL tear in his pitching arm and underwent TommyJohn surgery in 1995. Swimming was prescribed as part of his rehab which required him to learn how to swim. After his baseball career was over, he switched over to running marathons and ultras which led to cycling and triathlon and eventually open water swimming.
In 1998 he was taught by Paul Lundgren and Chris Chorak to swim more efficiently while training for the Ironman. He recorded his first Ironman swim in 1:01 followed by a 4-hour effort at the Seal Beach Rough Water 10-mile Swim in 2001.
Since the 2001 Ironman, he has completed a few more long-course triathlons, a couple 10K ocean swims, many marathons and ultras and even road cycling races. In 2005, he broke his back as a result of crashing with a car at 30+ mph while leading a group bike ride down the coast. After surgery and rehabilitation for 6 months, he participated in IM CdA recording a 57-minute swim, but dropped out after the 112-mile bike due to back spasms. Phil returned to open water swimming in 2010 after being invited to join the Night Train Farallon Relay Team with Vito Bialla, Paul Lundgren, Joseph Locke, Matthew Davie, and Michelle Deasy.
In 2009 he helped Paul Lundgren prepare for and observe his Catalina Channel crossing. He participated in the first Farallon Islands Relay in June 2010. Later, he participated in the record-setting Lake Powell marathon relay swim in September 2010.
Cutti was an exercise physiologist at the Human Performance Lab at Stanford University. He was the Lab Manager of the Endurance Performance Training Centers from 2003-2007 and owns the Catalyst Training Centers. He ran the KKS Triathlon Club between 1998-2007. He has been in the endurance, coaching, and training world for over a decade. His experience and education comes through in bridging the gap between the lab and applying the physiological data to achieve optimal performance.
Participation in the Farallon Island Relay Swim
Q1. What is his motivation for swim? Definitely motivated by the challenge of completing this “haunting” swim. Failure never sits well, so I am driven to do what I can to help the team complete the swim. I am prepared to continue this swim if I am the only one able to continue on.
Q2. What is his pacing strategy? As the first swimmer, I am preparing for 3 swims with 5 hours of recovery between. I will be comfortable with the water temp within 5-7 minutes and from that point will push the pace to max steady state. I have done specific training to know that I am able to hold the same pace after 5 hours of recovery in 50-53 degree water.
Q3. What is the biggest challenge? I anticipate sea sickness as a personal challenge. 5 hrs in a slow moving boat in the open ocean will be tough. Hydration and motion sickness patch will be key.
Q4. What is your state of mind? I am really focused. With experience from last year, I am ready for the unexpected and have visualized success through every aspect- swims, transitions, re-warming, fueling, navigation, completion and celebration.
Night Train Swimmers at the Farallon Islands
World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men
- Sarah Thomas Talks About Lake Powell And Marathon Swimming on WOWSA Live
- The World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men
- Phil Cutti bio, Human Performance Lab, Stanford University
- Farallon Islands Swimming Association website
- Night Train Swimmers
- Human Performance Lab, Stanford University website
- High and Live on Lake Tahoe
- San Francisco to Los Angeles Relay
- Open Water Swimming website
- Course Set For World Record Relay
- San Francisco to Santa Barbara
- When North And South Come Together, Possibilities Arise
- From Laughter To Pain, From Joy To Sadness, From SF To SB
- Night Train Swimmers Are Looking Good
- Night Train Swimmers Head Off In Reverse
- Making Time for Breaking Records and Helping Others
- Night Train Swimmers On Course To The Farallones
- Night Train Swimmer Are Off Radar
- Open Water Swimming website
- Drive Up, Swim Down, An Unprecedented California Adventure
- Kraving For Food In The Open Water
- Night Train Swimmers Announce World Record Relay Attempt
- When Jellyfish Replace Sharks
- Doing Good While Swimming With Sharks And Jellies
- The Night Train Going From Gaviota, Culminating In Coronado
- Marathon Swimming versus Marathon Running
- Blue And White And Perhaps Red All Over
- World Open Water Swimming Association
- Night Train Swimmers Rocking Into Their Second Night
- Camaraderie On The High Seas
- Swimming With Seals, Afraid Of Apex
- Monday Monday, If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears
- When Man Is Mightier Than Machine
- Night Train Swimmers Do It In 100 Hours
- Great Job Daddy. Welcome Home
- Phil Cutti Finishes The Job After 100 Hours
- Luane Rowe Does Her Job Well, Quietly
- Zach Jirkovsky Is All Smiles After 100 Hours Of Swimming
- David Holscher Gets The Job Done Harmoniously
- Grace Van Der Byl Triumphantly Tired
- Best Guess, Incredible Foresight, And Unbelievable Planning
- Paul Lundgren's Transformation Off The Grid Into The Wild
- Expect The Unexpected Déjà Vu
- Myra Elizabeth Thompson, Pioneering The Farallon Islands
- Do You Krave GU Or Maxim?
- Record-setting Relays Rock 'N Roll
- What Have You Eaten In The Open Water?