“I love the feeling of anticipation that comes from having a huge, scary event on the horizon; in fact, that’s when I have a sense of living life to the fullest.”
Close your eyes and imagine yourself 30 miles off the coast of San Francisco, swimming in the freezing cold, shark-infested waters famously dubbed the Red Triangle. No wetsuit. In the middle of the night.
Most would call this lunacy.
Kimberley Chambers calls this home.
This week’s guest is one of the most accomplished record-setting marathon open water swimmers in the world. Her story is incredibly inspiring, but not for the reasons you might imagine. Her story is inspiring because just nine years ago, Kim was not a swimmer at all, suffering a life-threatening accident that nearly claimed her leg and her overall enthusiasm for life.
The morning started out like every other morning. The New Zealand born former ballerina and rower turned software executive left her San Francisco apartment and accidentally tripped, toppling down a treacherous flight of stairs.
We saved your leg. But it’s unlikely you will walk again.
The doctor’s verdict presented Kim with a choice: accept permanent disability. Or prove them wrong.
Needless to say, she chose the latter.
After countless surgeries and an excruciatingly prolonged rehabilitation, a friend encouraged her to try swimming. Although foreign to the water, she immediately took to it. A ticket to freedom. But the real turning point came the moment she first jumped into the frigid San Francisco Bay. In an instant, she had found sanctuary. To this day, it’s a love affair with cold water and the tight-knit community of like-minded souls who embrace it that changed everything about her life and how she lives it.
An inner fire ignited, Kim began to channel her newfound passion into a series of death-defying, envelope-pushing open-water marathon challenges that have redefined the limits of human potential and transformed her into the elite athlete she is today.
Among Kim’s many accomplishments:
- In 2014, she became the 6th person (and 3rd woman) in history to complete the Oceans Seven — the marathon swimming equivalent of the Seven Summits mountaineering challenge, with each of the 7 swims chosen for their treacherous water conditions and potential wildlife risks;
- In 2015, she set a new world record becoming the first woman to swim 30 miles from the shark-infested Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco;
- In September 2016, Kim attempted a non-stop 93 mile swim from Sacramento to Tiburon. However after swimming over 24 hours and 54 miles, sustained 30 knot winds rendered it unsafe for her to continue;
- And just two months later, Kim led an international team of swimmers to complete an unprecedented historic swim across the Dead Sea to raise global awareness around the environmental deterioration of that critical body of water.
This is a conversation about the boundaries of human potential. It’s about the capacity to turn tremendous adversity into boundless opportunity. It’s about finding joy and adventure outside the comfort zone. It’s a conversation about reframing identity to step into and own — really own — our most authentic, fully actualized selves.
And I suppose it’s about how to not get eaten by a shark.
Delightfully engaging, ever humble, and beautifully human, Kim embodies everything you seek in a modern day female super hero.
It was a pleasure to spend time with her and it is my hope that our conversation will leave you deeply reconsidering the limits of your own potential.
I sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange.
Peace + Plants,
Spots are available for our next retreat in Italy — May 20-27, 2017. For info visit plantpowerworld.com
Check out Julie’s brand new, updated website srimati.com
Thanks to this week’s sponsors:
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Background, Context & Reference
- Connect With Kim: Website | Instagram | Twitter
- NYTimes: Marathon Swimmer Falls Short in Bid for a Record Off San Francisco by Adam Skolnick
- SacBee: Woman ends attempt to swim 93 miles from Sacramento to Tiburon by Cathy Locke & Jack Chang
- SFGate: A battle to walk turns into a long-distance ocean-swimming feat
- SFGate: Kim Chambers successfully swims from Farallon Islands to San Francisco
- SFGate: Kim Chambers becomes first woman to swim from Farallones to S.F. by Amy Graff
- OutsideOnline: How Kim Chambers Became the World’s Most Badass Swimmer by Ian McMahan
- CNN: Kim Chambers set record for 17-hour, shark-infested Golden Gate swim by Tiffany Ap
- CNN: She swims with sharks before breakfast (Video)
- CBSNews: Woman breaks record in grueling, shark-infested swim
- CBS: Kim Chambers Talks About Historic Swim From Sacramento To San Francisco Bay (Video)
- TheGuardian: Kim Chambers becomes first woman to complete shark-infested California swim (Video)
- Adobe: Kim Chambers Shows Us What Is Really Possible by Lucy Filipac
- DeadSeaSwim: The Team
- Stuff: Kiwi Kim Chambers swims through jellyfish and sharks, raising millions for charity
- NightTrainSwimmers: All-Female Farallon Islands Relay
- DolphinClub: Kim Chambers Finishes Ocean’s Seven
- NZHerald: New Zealand swimmer Kim Chambers conquers the Dead Sea
- SwimmingWorldMag: From Severe Injury to Swimming the Ocean’s 7 – Kim Chambers on The Morning Swim Show
- ESPN: Kim Chambers becomes first woman to swim to Golden Gate Bridge
- KimSwims: Outside Magazine // How Kim Chambers Became The World’s Most Badass Swimmer
- TheGuardian: Defining Moment: a ballerina falls – and emerges as a record-setting swimmer (Audio)
- Forbes: 3 Gritty Tips That Will Make You Way More Exciting And Successful by Denise Restauri
Notable People Discussed in today’s podcast
- Vito Bialla: founding member of Night Train Swimmers and is the organization’s President
Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy
- RRP #049: Tanc Sade on Holding Your Breath for 7 Minutes & Swimming 218 Meters Without Coming Up for Air
- RRP #170: Climber Conrad Anker On Suffering, Risk, Reward & The Allure Of Meru
- RRP #194: Olympian Aaron Peirsol’s Love Affair With Water
- RRP #218: Adam Skolnick’s One Breath: The Spiritual Allure Of Freediving Through The Life & Death Of Nick Mevoli, America’s Greatest Talent
- RRP #231: “The Iceman” Wim Hof On Why Breath Is Life, Cold Is God & Feeling Is Understanding
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