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Dan Simonelli

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Dan Simonelli's kayaking, coaching and crewing services were nominated for the 2019 WOWSA Awards in the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year category
Pearl Simonelli being escorted to Anacapa Island across the Santa Barbara Channel by her father and escort kayaker Dan Simonelli on 18 September 2018
Stage swim course of Dan Simonelli during his 26-27 September 2017 Santa Barbara Island Hopper swim between between the islands of San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and then into Silver Strand Beach in Oxnard on the California mainland. Image courtesy of the Marathon Swimmers Federation TRACK RS system.
Open Water Swim Academy by Dan Simonelli is a nominee for the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year, part of the WOWSA Awards, an annual recognition of outstanding men, women, performances and offerings around the globe sponsored by the World Open Water Swimming Association
John Batchelder with CCSF Observer Dan Simonelli after a 17 hour 14 minute butterfly crossing of the Catalina Channel
The Zombies training for the Catalina Channel in 2014 and the English Channel in 2015 are coached by Dan Simonelli. Photo by John Gibbins.
Dan Simonelli will participate in the 2017 Pan-American Colibrí Swim between Imperial Beach, California, USA and Playas de Tijuana in Tijuana, Mexico is a cross-border swim and an example of Speedo diplomacy by a group of ocean swimmers from five nations with the purpose to raise awareness and funds for the Colibri Center for Human Rights in the Pacific Ocean

Dan Simonelli, whose nickname is Swimonelli, is an American open water swimmer, observer, and support paddler from San Diego, California who is the Founder and Director of Open Water Swim Academy, (OWSA) as well as the race director of the Scripps Pier-To-Cove Swim and coach of The Zombie Patrol. He is a voting Board member for the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation and a member of the voting panel to decide the honourees of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. He won the 2015 Service to Marathon Swimming Award, given by the Marathon Swimmers Federation and organizes the SAA Catalina event. He has completed two Oceans Seven channel crossings and is a Lifetime Member of the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation and the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association..

Mission of the Open Water Swim Academy[edit]

The mission of OWSA is to provide a safe and supportive environment for teaching and training aspiring open water swimmers of all ages and skill levels with the desire to experience the joys and adventures of ocean swimming, recreationally and competitively, and to learn from and swim with some of the world’s best.

OWSA is committed to promoting and expanding the sport of open water swimming among people of all ages and skill levels, competitive or non-competitive, and for anyone that wants to experience the joys and wonders of the open water!

Biography[edit]

  • Simonelli grew up in Stockton, California and has been swimming since 4 years old. Simonelli swam on and off through school and some in college as he tired of the pool experience. Then, while in the Marine Corps stationed in Oceanside, California, he began swimming in the ocean and racing in triathlons. He was a WSSI instructor in the Marine Corps and later became an Ocean Lifeguard on Camp Pendleton and for the City of Oceanside, and the experience and joy of swimming in the ocean has never left him.
  • Simonelli began swimming at La Jolla Cove and became a member of and is the current President for the La Jolla Cove Swim Club
  • Subsequently he started swimming with the groups of marathon swimmers training for Catalina Channel, English Channel, and other great swims, and began to see the endless possibilities of the open water.
  • Simonelli is an Official Observer and support crew for CCSF and SBCSA
  • Simonelli has served as Observer, kayaker, Support crew, Crew Chief and/or Coach for more than 200 Catalina Channel and other open water swims such as English Channel and Kaiwi (Molokai) Channel, SCAR, Santa Barbara Channel swims, and others.
  • Simonelli is the current President of the La Jolla Cove Swim Club
  • He serves as a coach of the Arch Academy Zombie Patrol.
  • Simonelli completed the 2014 and 2015 S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge in Arizona; and has served as escort kayaker for other swimmers in subsequent years:

Dave Van Mouwerik's SCAR 2016. Courtney Paulk 2018. Karl Pettigrew 2019.

The Zombie Patrol[edit]

Open Water Swimming Career[edit]

- ADA 10 Mile Relay 2009; 2016
- La Jolla Tour of Buoys, 5 miles, 2010; 2011
- La Jolla Pier To Cove, 1.5 miles, 2010; 2011; 2012; 2013; 2014; 2016
- Salt Creek Rough Water, 2.4 miles, 2013
- La Jolla Cove 10 Mile, Solo: 2012; 2013; 2015~(Top Male Finisher)
- Numerous adventure swims: mostly along California Coast, 4-16 miles
- Numerous CCSF Catalina Channel relays
- Catalina Island coastline adventure swims

- S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge 2014 and 2015
[edit]

Saguaro Lake.JPG Canyon Lake.JPG


~ Catalina Channel Solo, Aug 23, 2015[edit]

Thumbs Up.jpg Welcoming Party.jpg Running Finish.jpg Sweet Success.jpg Finish.jpg


~ Catalina Channel Solo (George Young Anniversary Swim, 1927), 16 January 2016[edit]

Jan15,1927 Start 1.jpg Jan15,1927 Start 2.JPG Jan15,2016 Start 1.JPG DanSimonelli dolphins escort.JPG DanSimonelli finish 1.JPG DanSimonelli finish 2.JPG DanSimonelli finish 3.JPG


~ English Channel Solo, 25 Aug 2016[edit]

MSF cap.JPG IMG 9521.JPG IMG 9524.JPG IMG 9525.JPG IMG 9528.JPG France beach, pebble.JPG IMG 9535.JPG

Catalina Relays[edit]

~ In October 2011, Dan was a member of the Fantasy Island Relay team which circumnavigated Catalina Island (counterclockwise). Approximately 48 miles and one day later, the swimmers finished, including Tina Neill, Cindy Walsh, Claudia Rose, Kevin Rosenthal, Dan Henry. The concurrent relay team consisted of swimmers: Forrest Nelson, Barbara Held, Becky Jackman-Beeler, Mark Monticino, Bill Crane, Carol Sing.

~ Simonelli was a member of Team Tripod, a group of 3 separate teams of 6 swimmers each that completed a joint crossing of the Catalina Channel in 13 hours 16 minutes in August 2012. The 3 relays swam the exact same pace across the Catalina Channel. The teams started near midnight on Cabrillo Beach and swam out to Catalina Island with Carol Sing as the team leader.

The swimmers included Julian Rusinek, Lynn Kubasek, Carol Hayden, Karl Jacobs, Kenny Jacobs, Tanya MacLean, Patsee Ober, Marc Horwitz, Tom Cook, Dan Simonelli, Kelley Schall, Thomas Johnson, Steve Coopersmith, Natalie Kreitzinger, Marta Gaughen, Paula Selby, Yafa Minazad, and Kim Miller. The support crew included Grace van der Byl, Julie Flanagan, Kevin Eslinger, Forrest Nelson, and Neil van der Byl. The CCSF Observers included Carol Sing and John York.

~ Mainland to Catalina Relay, 2012

~ He was the chief kayaker for the Machine Men (Team 1 and Team 2) in September 2014 on their tandem relay swim crossing of 9 hours 39 minutes in September 2014.

~ He was Team Captain and Coordinator of the IMSHOF-Swim Across America-David Yudovin Memorial Catalina Channel Relays in 2015. Three relay teams swam in triplets across the Catalina Channel to honor David Yudovin, and the teams raised over $40k to benefit City of Hope Cancer Center via Swim Across America.

- He was the coordinator of the Catalina Cancer Crushers Relay, a 6-person relay that completed a 48-mile clockwise circumnavigation swim around Catalina Island in 27 hours 46 minutes 6 seconds on 11 September 2019 while raising more than US$60,000 for cancer research and treatment on behalf of Swim Across America together with Scott Beeber, Josh Fromson, Matt Jennings, Erik King, Jackie NeJaime, Gary Workman, Dan Simonelli (coordinator), Henie Brandol (crew), Kristine Croft (crew), Megan Melgaard (Swim Across America representative), Guy Morgan (escort kayaker) and [Dawn Niday]] (escort kayaker).

DY Relay 1.JPG DY Relay 2.JPG

English Channel Experience[edit]

Chloe McCardel's "Swim For Life" Cuba-USA 2013 swim[edit]

He served as the Official Observer on Chloe's Cuba-USA swim attempt in June 2013.

Out, Around and Back Relay[edit]

Simonelli is a member of the Out, Around, and Back marathon swimming relay from Catalina Island to Santa Barbara Island, circumnavigate Santa Barbara Island, and then return from Santa Barbara Island to Catalina Island. On 14-15 July 2016, John Pittman escorted the Old and Cold Relay, including Becky Margulies, Asha Allen, Dan Simonelli, Dave Van Mouwerik, Anthony McCarley, and Scott Zacharda for 28 hours 58 minutes over 108.2 km before the swim was called off by the boat owner as they were estimated to be 5 miles / 2 hours from their finish on Catalina Island.

Pan-American Colibrí Swim[edit]

Simonelli helped plan and organize a cross-border swim by a group of ocean swimmers from five nations with the purpose to raise awareness and funds for the Colibri Center for Human Rights in the Pacific Ocean between Imperial Beach near San Diego, California, USA and Playas de Tijuana in Tijuana, Mexico held on 5 May 2017, called the Pan-American Colibrí Swim. The Colibrí swimmers include Kimberley Chambers (New Zealand), Oded Rahav (Israel), Jean Craven (South Africa), Antonio Argüelles, (Mexico), Nicolene Steynberg (South Africa), Rene Martínez Saenz (Mexico), Ben Enosh (Israel/USA), Ryan Nelson (USA), Melissa King (USA), Kamini Moodley (South Africa), Nora Toledano (Mexico), Neil Macaskill (South Africa), Luc Chetboun (Israel), Mariel Hawley (Mexico) and Dan Simonelli (USA) with escort kayakers Tom Hecker (USA), Kevin Eslinger (USA), Billy Carlson (USA), Matt Donoghue (USA), Haden Ware (USA), Anna Lopez and the Out of the Boat Team (Mexico), and Kala Sherman-Presser (USA).

Santa Barbara Island Hopper Swim[edit]

Simonelli attempted the Santa Barbara Island Hopper Swim between the islands of San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and then into the California mainland, estimated to take 24-30 hours in total. On 26 September 2017, Simonelli swam 5.8 km from San Miguel Island to Santa Rosa Island in 2 hours 30 minutes, then swam 9.7 km from Santa Rosa Island to Santa Cruz Island in 4 hours 5 minutes 30 seconds, then swam 9 km from Santa Cruz Island to Anacapa Island in 2 hours 15 minutes 9 seconds as September 27th rolled in.

Video[edit]


The 7.9 km 3 hour 3 minute Pan-American Colibrí Swim, a cross-border swim and charity swim in the Pacific Ocean from Imperial Beach near San Diego, California, USA to Playas de Tijuana in Tijuana, Mexico on 5 May 2017.

2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Nomination[edit]

Simonelli’s kayaking and coaching service was nominated for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year award as follows:

On the west coast of the United States, it is a rare day when Dan Simonelli is not coaching or kayaking out in the open water. He guides, escorts, educates, inspires, assists, feeds, and mentors swimmers of all ages and abilities. He also made an impromptu rescue that saved the life of a swimmer in high surf against the reef of the La Jolla Cove. During 2019, he coached or crewed 43 marathon swims, often kayaking not for just an hour or two, but typically anywhere from 8-16 hours on Catalina Channel crossings and other marathon swims. He is the go-to guy on the West Coast who is always in demand from Hawaii to Dover. He concurrently runs the Open Water Swim Academy for teaching and training open water swimmers, no matter what their starting point or final goals are. For being a reliable and knowledgeable coach, crew chief, lifeguard and escort kayaker for recreational, masters and competitive swimmers, for sharing technical, environmental, operational, logistical, mental and physical advice for open water swimmers, for calmly guiding swimmers from all walks of life in all kinds of conditions, the kayaking and coaching services provided by Dan Simonelli of the Open Water Swim Academy is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

2017 World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men[edit]

Simonelli was named to the World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men in 2017 (alphabetized by last name) by the World Open Water Swimming Association:

1. Dr. Doron Amosi, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
2. Antonio Argüelles Díaz-González, channel swimmer and endurance athlete from Mexico
3. Cyril Baldock, marathon/channel swimmer from Australia
4. Ram Barkai, administrator, event organizer and ice swimmer from South Africa
5. John Batchelder, butterflying marathon swimmer from USA
6. Nejib Belhedi, marathon/stage/boat pull swimmer from Tunisia
7. Alexander Brylin, channel ice swimmer from Russia
8. Luc Chetboun, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
9. Salvatore Cimmino, amputee advocate and marathon/extreme swimmer from Italy
10. Jean Craven, marathon/extreme swimmer from South Africa
11. Ned Denison, IMSHOF administrator and marathon/ice swimmer from Ireland
12. Craig Dietz, disabled open water swimmer from USA
13. Ben Enosh, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel/USA
14. Udi Erell, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
15. Stephen Junk, channel swimmer from Australia
16. Henri Kaarma, event organizer and ice swimmer from Estonia
17. Ger Kennedy, ice, underwater and extreme swimmer from Ireland
18. Craig Lenning, marathon/channel/ice swimmer from the USA
19. Neil Macaskill, extreme/cross-border swimmer from South Africa
20. Pádraig Mallon, escort pilot, event organizer and marathon/channel/ice swimmer from Ireland
21. Ingemar Patiño Macarine, channel/marathon swimmer from the Philippines
22. Andrew Malinak, administrator and cold water/marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
23. Chris Marthinusen, extreme/high-altitude swimmer from South Africa
24. Patrick McKnight, marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
25. Allan McLeland, Peak and Pond swimmer/climber from the USA
26. Darren Miller, channel swimmer and event director from the USA
27. Rohan More, marathon/channel swimmer from India
28. Gullupilli Narhari, extreme relay swimmer from India
29. Matías Ola, event organizer and ice/extreme swimmer from Argentina
30. Kieron Palframan, ice/extreme swimmer from South Africa
31. James Pittar, blind marathon/channel swimmer from Australia
32. Javier Mérida Prieto, disabled Triple Crown swimmer from Spain
33. Lewis Pugh OIG, ocean advocate and ice/extreme swimmer from the UK
34. Oded Rahav, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
35. Stephen Redmond, channel/marathon swimmer from Ireland
36. Adrian Sarchet, marathon/channel swimmer from Guernsey
37. Ori Sela, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
38. Dan Simonelli, coach/guide/observer and marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
39. Paramvir Singh, extreme relay swimmer from India
40. Albert Sobirov, ice swimmer from Russia
41. Petar Stoychev, marathon/channel/ice/Olympic swimmer from Bulgaria
42. Ryan Stramrood, ice/extreme swimmer from South Africa
43. Martin Strel, marathon/stage swimmer from Slovenia
44. Dr. Otto Thaning, channel/marathon swimmer from South Africa
45. Jacques Tuset, prison island swimmer from France
46. Toks Viviers, ice/extreme swimmer from South Africa
47. Adam Walker, coach, event organizer, and channel swimmer from England
48. Christof Wandratsch, event organizer and ice/marathon/channel/professional swimmer from Germany
49. Brenton Williams, event organizer and butterfly ocean swimmer from South Africa
50. Herman van der Westhuizen, extreme high-altitude swimmer from South Africa

2017 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Nominees[edit]

Open Water Swim Academy was nominated for the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year by the World Open Water Swimming Association:

1. 48 Braçades by Miquel Suñer (Spain)
2. Blue Journey Dangerous Waves Project by Bruckner Chase (USA)
3. Global Swim Series by Rob Kent & Dylan Kent (Canada)
4. LongSwimsDB by Evan Morrison (USA)
5. New York Open Water by David Barra, Rondi Davies & Alex Arévalo (USA)
6. Open Water Swim Academy by Dan Simonelli (USA)
7. Outdoor Swimmer by Simon Griffiths (Great Britain)
8. Sea Donkey with Adrian Sarchet (Guernsey)
9. Shark Bait by Dr. Seán O’Connell (Bermuda)
10. Swim Argentina by Matías Ola (Argentina)
11. The Channel of Bones with Toni Enderli (South Africa)
12. Travessia do Leme ao Pontal by Adherbal de Oliveira & Renato Ribeiro Barbosa (Brazil)

2017 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Nomination[edit]

The Open Water Swim Academy offers a safe and supportive environment for teaching and training open water swimmers, no matter what their starting point or final goals are. Led by coach, crew chief, lifeguard and escort kayaker Dan Simonelli, recreational, masters and competitive swimmers are taught a comprehensive curriculum of technical, environmental, mental and physical aspects of the sport. For sharing the latest and best techniques and tactics both in the pool and Pacific Ocean, for teaching myriad aspects of open water swimming in beautiful La Jolla, California – and from Hawaii to Dover - from swim techniques and nutrition to marine life and goal setting, for promoting and expanding open water swimming to students and adults from all walks of life, the Open Water Swim Academy is a worthy nominee for the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

Marathon Swim Stories[edit]

He appeared with Shannon House Keegan on Marathon Swim Stories.

External links[edit]