RICHMOND, VA—It's been more than a year since Courtney Paulk set out to swim the English Channel, and now the Richmond woman has her sights on a new goal, the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming.
To say Richmond attorney Courtney Paulk goes to great lengths in pursuit of her hobby would be an understatement.
"I'm an open water marathon swimmer," Courtney Paulk said.
She's already made it across the English Channel and swam around Manhattan Island twice, but now she has her goggles set on the last remaining obstacle needed to complete open water swimming's ultimate goal.
"This will be the final leg of my Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming," Paulk said.
Beginning at midnight on September 10th, Paulk will attempt to swim from Catalina Island to the California coast.
She'll attempt to swim 21 miles of the Pacific Ocean—the same distance as her English Channel swim, but with one big difference. In the English Channel, jelly fish were the only real aquatic life she was likely to encounter.
"In the Catalina Channel, you have this extra layer of sharks and whales that you really don't have in the English Channel," Paulk said.
In July, a fisherman in the area caught what's believed to be the largest Mako shark on record.
"I've been trying to avoid shark week," Paulk said about the popularized Discovery Channel network special.
While most of people would be having flashbacks to childhood nightmares of Jaw, Paulk says it's another fish known to approach swimmers in the Catalina channel that really has her concerned.
"The things that bother me the most in my head are the whales, because swimming in the dark at night," Paulk said. "The whale comes up next to you, and it's a very large whale and of course you can hear it when the spout goes off when they swim up next to you that would freak me out just a little bit."
But Paulk says offsetting her fears is knowing that she's swimming for a great cause—raising money for the American Heart Association. It's a cause that's close to her, after a colleague had a stoke a few years back.
If Paulk completes her upcoming swim, she'll join an elite group to have earned the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming.
"Only 69, 70 people have done this ever," Paulk said.
Click HERE to help Paulk reach her goal of raising $10,000 for the American Heart Association.
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