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Vito Bialla

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Phil Cutti, Matthew Davie, Vito Bialla, Nora Toledano, Patty Kohlman and Edna Llorens before the Mexican American Unity Swim in Lake Powell in 55 hours 20 minutes in September 2010
Vito Bialla, entrepreneur and extreme open water swimmer from the Night Train Swimmers
Phil Cutti, David Holscher, Zach Jirkovsky, Luane Rowe, Blair Cannon, and Grace van der Byl of the Night Train Swimmers walking onshore after a 228-mile non-stop relay down the California coast between 22-26 August 2013, escorted by Vito Bialla, Hal McCormick, and Patrick Horn
Vito Bialla's SEQUEL escort boat
Night Train Swimmers in Sequel, their escort boat starting at Gaviota State Park in their 228-mile non-stop relay swim along the California coast with Grace van der Byl in the water
The two-way Farallon relay accomplished a 29.68-mile one-way crossing from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Farallons in 14 hours 9 minutes on 25 April 2015 before calling the swim due to weather conditions. Data provided by the MSF SwimTrack by the Marathon Swimmers Federation

Vito Bialla is the ultimate American success story of a German immigrant who survived the Vietnam war, founded a highly successful executive headhunting firm Bialla & Associates, sailed on the edge with some of the world's greatest sailors, founded a successful wetsuit company and an award-winning winery in Napa Valley, and found love and satisfaction while meeting the challenge of the greatest Ultra endurance tests on the planet including extreme swims to the Farallon Islands, across Lake Powell, and in the Sea of Cortez.

A self-made business entrepreneur, author and extreme athlete who got into the open water world in his adult years, he is one of the primary drivers of the Night Train Swimmers in the San Francisco Bay area.

Bialla is also one of the founding members of the Farallon Islands Swimming Federation and an experienced pilot for the Farallon Islands Swimming Federation. He also wrote an autobiography Happiness Is A Sharp Chainsaw.

Happiness Is A Sharp Chainsaw[edit]

The autobiography of a German immigrant who survived Vietnam, founded an executive headhunting firm, sailed on the edge, and found love and satisfaction while meeting the challenge of the greatest Ultra endurance tests on the planet. 100% of proceeds donated to Semper Fi Fund.

Escort Pilot[edit]

Vito has skillfully escorted swimmers on this 30-mile course, renowned to be one of the two most difficult, coldest, most perilous marathon swims in the world. Water temperatures can range from below 50°F (10°C) to 55.4°F (13°C), but temperatures have been recorded lower on several occasions. The water conditions are usually extremely rough with cresting ocean swells up to 20 feet. Currents and tides often exceed the speed of the fastest swimmers. It is a swim not lightly attempted and expertly guided by Vito in his SEQUEL.

Vito uses his SEQUEL, a Grand Banks East Bay 43, to escort solo and relay swimmers. Photos and videos of swims conducted by Vito are posted on the The Farallons Islands Swimming Federation website. Vito provides real-time GPS tracking of solo and relay swimmers here on the Farallon Islands Swimming Federation website.

Vito escorted Craig Lenning on his 30-mile Farallon Islands crossing on 8 April 2014 in 15 hours 46 minutes.

History of Swims in the Farallon Islands[edit]

Relay swimmer for the Night Train Swimmers: Vito was a member of a relay from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Farallon Islands on 20 May 2011, covering 26.4 nautical miles. Time finished: 14:45:08. The team members were Phil Cutti, Darrin Connolly, Dave Holscher, Vito Bialla, John Mathews and Kim Chambers.

Escort pilot for the Night Train Swimmers: Vito guided an all-female team from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Farallon Islands. June 4, 2011, covering 26.4 nautical miles. Time finished: 16:29:08. The team members were Kim Chambers, Laura Vartain Horn, Cathy Delneo, Melissa King, Patti Bauernfeind, and Lynn Kubasek.

Other Marathon Swims[edit]

Bialla has participated in marathon relay swims in the English Channel, Catalina Channel, Sea of Cortez (Mexico) and Lake Powell (Arizona-Utah). He has set a world record as part of the Mexican American Unity Swim in Lake Powell for the longest non-stop lake relay record and completed a 5:41 Strait of Gibraltar swim in 2010.

He participated in an 88-mile (141.6 km) charity swim and relay across the Sea of Cortez in Mexico together with Richard Ernst, Susan Moody, Mauricio Prieto, Luane Rowe and Antonio Argüelles on 1 June 2014.

SF to SB Relay[edit]

Bialla captained the Night Train Swimmers that attempted the world's longest non-stop ocean relay swim attempt (339 miles or 545.4km) in September 2012, raising US$1.2 million for Semper Fi, together with Phil Cutti, Patti Bauernfeind, Dave Holscher, Joe Locke, Kim Chambers and Zack Jirkovsky. It was halted after 6 days due to bloom after bloom of venomous jellyfish.

California Coastal Relay Swim[edit]

The California Coastal Relay or the Nighttrain228 is a 6-person relay by the Night Train Swimmers who set the world record for the longest non-stop ocean relay swim in history with its 228-mile (367 km) swim down the California coast from Point Conception to Coronado between 22-26 August 2013. Under the direction of captain Bialla, its relay members include Phil Cutti, David Holscher, Zach Jirkovsky, Luane Rowe, Blair Cannon, and Grace van der Byl.

Sueño 88 team[edit]

He is the captain and escort boat pilot for the Sueño 88, 6 open water swimmers who will attempt to swim 88 nautical miles (101 miles of 163 km) across the Sea of Cortez from the Baja California peninsula to the mainland of Mexico including David Ogden, Mauricio Prieto, Luane Rowe, Richard Ernst, Shannon Navarro, and Susan Moody Prieto.

Two-way Farallon Relay[edit]

Bialla was a member of the unprecedented attempt at a two-way Farallon relay, a 6-person 60-mile (95.6 km) relay from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Farallon Islands in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Francisco Bay, on 25 April 2015. They stopped on a one-way crossing at the buoy located at Fisherman's Cove at the South Farallon Island after 29.68 miles in 14 hours 9 minutes in rough seas. The swim was sanctioned by the Farallon Islands Swimming Association. Members included Emily Kreger, Patti Bauernfeind, Simon Dominguez, Kim Chambers, Ashley Horne, Dave Holscher, Kate Webber, Captain Vito Bialla, co-captain Patrick Horn, and David Ogden, M.D.

Night Train 300[edit]

Night Train 300 (NT300) is an attempt by the Night Train Swimmers to swim 300 miles (482.2 km) non-stop as a six-person open water swimming relay in San Francisco Bay. The charity event that will begin on 6 September 2015 is a fundraiser for Arthur Renowitzky walk again after being paralyzed by a gun shot wound to his spine, they will attempt to set the distance record for a 6-person open water swimming relay. Adhering to standard English Channel relay rules, NT300 will swim continuously in 1-hour individual rotations for an estimated 5 days in an attempt to break the existing distance record [currently held a team from India, called The Sea Hawks that swam for 269 miles (433 km) over 6 days off the Konkan Coast in western India). They will swim in San Francisco Bay as far south as the Giants Stadium and as far north as Benicia. The goal is raise US$50,000 to be able to help make Arthur Renowitzky walk again by outfitting him with a exoskeleton REWALK suit. Members include Grace van der Byl, Dave Holscher, Kimberley Chambers, Adam Eilath, Ashley Horne and Captain Vito Bialla.

Videos[edit]

Night Train Swimmers at the Farallon Islands[edit]

Craig Lenning from the Farallon Islands[edit]

Sueño 88 Video[edit]

Strait of Gibraltar Crossing[edit]

Contact[edit]

Contact information for Bialla can be found here.

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

He was named one of the World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men in 2015 by the World Open Water Swimming Association.

Greatest Watermen in Open Water Swimming History[edit]

He was named as one of the Greatest Watermen in Open Water Swimming History by the World Open Water Swimming Association in 2015:

1. Zacharias Alexandrakis (Macedonia): Marathon swimming enthusiast, open water swimming promoter, lifeguard, swimming coach and lifesaving leader.
2. Antonio Argüelles Díaz-González (Mexico): Triathlete, ultra-endurance athlete, channel swimmer and author
3. Stathis Avramidis, Ph.D. (Greece): Researcher, swimmer, author, speaker, and lecturer
4. Peter Bales (South Africa): Channel swimmer, marathon swimmer, governing body administrator and escort pilot
5. Vito Bialla (U.S.A.): Extreme relay swimmer, professional sailor, and escort pilot of the Farallon Islands, California
6. Paul Blackbeard (South Africa): World-class pool swimmer, ocean swimmer, and life saver
7. Lord Byron (Great Britain): Poet, author and pioneering sea swimmer
8. Dick Campion (Australia): Olympian, coach, trainer, author, promoter, and professional marathon swimmer
9. Daniel Eulogio Carpio Massioti (Peru): Four-time Olympian, Channel swimmer, professional racer, and solo swimmer
10. Bruckner Chase (U.S.A.): marathon swimmer, ocean advocate, ambassador to the disabled, filmmaker, paddler and surf lifesaver
11. Buster Crabbe (U.S.A.): Olympic champion, ice swimmer, promoter, and movie star of 3 pulp fiction heroes
12. Guy Delage (France): Ocean swimmer, extreme adventurer, diver, submariner, and sailor
13. Marcos Díaz (Dominican Republic): Marathon racer, extreme swimmer, surfer, governing body administrator, and event director
14. Shannon Eckstein (Australia): Ironman lifesaver, paddler, kayaker, surf skier and ocean swimmer
15. Ian Emberson (Kauai, U.S.A.): Channel swimmer, original Ironman triathlete, ocean swimmer, event director, and triathlete
16. George Freeth (Hawai, U.S.A.): Ocean swimmer, surfer, paddler, and lifesaver organizer
17. Alfréd Hajós (Hungary): Olympic champion, professional racer, and architect
18. Trevor Hendy (Australia): Ironman lifesaver, paddler, kayaker, surf skier and ocean swimmer
19. Colin Hill (Great Britain): Ice swimmer, Channel swimmer, television commentator, and event director
20. Craig Hummer (U.S.A.): Competitive swimmer, kayaker, paddler, Ironman lifesaver, and Olympic television commentator
21. Ky Hurst (Australia): Ocean swimmer, two-time Olympian, body surfer extraordinaire, and champion life saver
22. Zhang Jian (China): Marathon swimmer, Channel swimmer, ice swimmer and university sports director
23. Captain Tim Johnson (U.S.A.): Marathon swimmer, author, professor, shark cage designer, analyst, and historian
24. Duke Kahanamoku (Hawaii): Ocean swimmer, Olympic champion, surfing legend and ambassador of aloha
25. Grant Kenny (Australia): Ironman lifesaver, paddler, kayaker, surf skier and ocean swimmer
26. Guy Leech (Australia): Ironman lifesaver, paddler, kayaker, surf skier and ocean swimmer
27. Luiz Eduardo Carneiro da Silva de Souza Lima (Brazil): Two-time Olympian, stand-up paddler, ocean swimming coach, pioneering ocean swimmer and promoter
28. Pádraig Mallon (Ireland): Marathon swimmer, Channel swimmer, ice swimmer, event organizer, promoter and triathlete
29. Vojislav Mijić (Serbia): Marathon swimmer, professional racer, solo pioneer and event organizer
30. Masayuki Moriya (Japan): Coach, channel swimmer, event organizer, clinician, and governing body administrator
31. Keo Nakama (Hawaii/U.S.A.): World champion, world record holder, pioneering ocean swimmer, event organizer and coach
32. Aaron Peirsol (U.S.A.): 7-time Olympic medalist, surfer, lifeguard, coach, and body surfer extraordinaire
33. Lewis Pugh (Great Britain): Channel swimmer, marathon swimmer, ocean advocate, ambassador, author, and speaker
34. Kevin Richards (South Africa): Competitive swimmer, triathlete, surf lifesaver, and coach
35. Philip Rush (New Zealand): Channel swimmer, marathon swimmer, professional racer, escort pilot, channel administrator, and fire fighter
36. Wayne Riddin (South Africa): Competitive swimmer, race director, aquapreneur, coach and promoter
37. Veljko Rogošić (Croatia): Two-time Olympic swimmer, professional racer, solo pioneer, swimming ambassador and marathon swimmer
38. Kenny Rust (Hawaii, U.S.A.): Ocean swimmer, lifeguard, aquapreneur, and event safety official
39. Ori Sela (Israel): Sea swimmer, coach, therapist, pioneer relay swimmer and aquapreneur
40. Borut Strel (Slovenia): Coach, swimmer, clinician, planner and logistic expert
41. Martin Strel (Slovenia): Channel swimmer, marathon swimmer, extreme adventurer, film protagonist, and camp clinician
42. Georgios-Ioannis Tsianos, M.D., Ph.D. (Greece): Research scientist, physician, expedition medic and Channel swimmer
43. Christof Wandratsch (Germany): Channel swimmer, professional racer, solo pioneer, ice swimming record holder and event promoter
44. Captain Matthew Webb (Great Britain): Channel swimmer, extreme adventurer, and professional racer
45. Johnny Weissmuller (U.S.A.): 4-time Olympic champion and movie star with a household name
46. Alick Wickham (Solomon Islands): Ocean swimmer, high diver, body surfing promoter, surfboard shaper, and freestyle ambassador
47. Patrick Winkler (Brazil): Competitive swimmer, ocean swimmer, stand-up paddler, race promoter and publisher of The Swim Channel Magazine
48. Jabez Wolffe (Great Britain): Channel aspirant and coach in the early generations of channel swimming
49. Doug Woodring (Hong Kong/U.S.A.): Marine environment ambassador, ecology advocate, aquapreneur, ocean event director, paddler, diver, and ocean swimmer
50. David Yudovin (U.S.A.): Channel swimmer, marathon swimmer, aquapreneur, benefactor and mariner

NT300[edit]

He is a member of the Night Train 300 (or NT300) by the Night Train Swimmers that swam over 300 miles (482.2 km) non-stop as a six-person open water swimming relay in San Francisco Bay. The charity event began on 6 September 2015 and was a fundraiser for Arthur Renowitzky walk again after being paralyzed by a gun shot wound to his spine. They set the distance record for a 6-person open water swimming relay.

Adhering to standard English Channel relay rules, NT300 will swim continuously in 1-hour individual rotations for an estimated 5 days in an attempt to break the existing distance record [currently held a team from India, called The Sea Hawks that swam for 269 miles (433 km) over 6 days off the Konkan Coast in western India). They swam in San Francisco Bay as far south as the Giants Stadium and as far north as Benicia with the goal is raise US$50,000 to be able to help make Arthur Renowitzky walk again by outfitting him with a exoskeleton REWALK suit.

Members included Grace van der Byl, Dave Holscher, Kimberley Chambers, Adam Eilath, Ashley Horne, and Vito Bialla.

Chocolate Chip Circumnavigation[edit]

The members of the Night Train Swimmers completed a 1-mile circumnavigation swim around Chocolate Chip rock, starting at Devil's Teeth in the Farallon Islands including Vito Bialla, Dave Holscher, Kim Chambers, Kate Weber, Simon Dominguez, and Ashley Horne on 12 July 2015 amid the presence of Great White Sharks. The Farallon Islands are a group of islands and sea stacks in the Gulf of the Farallones, off the coast of San Francisco, California, United States.

External links[edit]