Los Angeles, CA (PressExposure) April 29, 2011 -- Jen Schumacher, a 25-year-old graduate student at California State University, Fullerton, is an accomplished marathon swimmer. She has completed the 21-mile Catalina Channel in Southern California in each direction, the 28.5-mile Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, and the 17.5-mile crossing between Kauai and Ni'ihau in Hawaii in a record time of 9 hours, 56 minutes. But the challenge she is about to take on has no precedent.
Today, Schumacher is announcing her entry into an international race to become the first person in history to conquer The Ocean's Seven - seven iconic channel crossings on five continents that present the most difficult and extreme conditions imaginable for open water swimmers. She will be competing against a small group of elite endurance swimmers as they attempt to complete these seven, officially sanctioned swims at different times: the English Channel (England/France), the Strait of Gibraltar (Spain/Morocco), the Moloka'I Channel (Moloka'i/0'ahu in Hawaii), the Cook Strait (New Zealand), the Tsugaru Strait (Japan), the Irish Channel (Northern Ireland/Scotland) and the Catalina Channel (Catalina Island/Palos Verdes in California).
Schumacher is swimming not only to win the race but also to raise awareness and donations for the Third Millennium Foundation, Inc., (3MF) a U.S.-based, non-profit organization devoted to ocean conservation and marine life protection, and its International Whales Network, which works through local experts in the Caribbean, Latin America, Pacific Islands and West Africa to promote whale protection and marine conservation in their respective regions.
"I'm passionate about protecting whales and combating the effects of over-fishing, climate change and pollution - especially plastics - on all marine life," says Schumacher, who will start her Ocean's Seven Challenge this summer. "I share these goals with the Third Millennium Foundation. I'll be swimming to benefit 3MF because I believe in its forward-thinking approach, which combines research, education and international cooperation. Like The Ocean's Seven, 3MF is working on a global scale, because safeguarding marine life and improving the health of the oceans is a challenge charged to the world."
"We all stand in awe of Jen's athletic ability, her courage and her determination to take on the daunting Ocean's Seven - and we are eternally grateful to her for volunteering to be a spokesperson for 3MF and our International Whales Network," says Leslie Busby, executive director of 3MF and coordinator of the International Whales Network. "Our oceans and all the marine life they sustain could not ask for a more intelligent and articulate advocate than Jen."
3MF was established in 1987. A main focus has been protecting whales by campaigning for the agreement of effective conservation measures and their enforcement through such international treaty organizations as the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The creation and expansion of new whale and marine mammal sanctuaries also has been a priority of 3MF, as well as building and strengthening civil society coalitions in the regions where its Whales Network is active, to support their development as important voices for protecting marine life. 3MF also has been active for more than a decade in researching and exposing Japan's so-called "vote-buying" operation at the IWC, which was designed to increase the number of member countries supporting Japan's whaling agenda there and to have enough votes to block the agreement of any binding conservation measures.
The Ocean's Seven is to open water swimming what The Seven Summits are to mountaineering, although unlike the summits, no one has ever completed all seven channel crossings. The name - and the event itself - was devised in 2008 by coach and marathon swimming guru Steven Munatones, who also publishes the Daily News of Open Water Swimming. He thought open water swimmers needed "more challenges" and selected these seven channels for their geographic and climatic diversity, extreme hardships and the intricate planning needed to succeed.
"This is a competition reserved for only the world's best marathon swimmers," says Munatones. "It demands that each competitor be physically and mentally prepared to overcome every condition known to defeat open waters swimmers." Currently, there are a dozen men and women marathon swimmers competing for the Ocean's Seven prize, two of whom have completed at least four of the seven channels.
Of Schumacher, Munatones says: "Jen is one of the most serious, ambitious young marathon swimmers on the international front. She has proven herself in two major channel swims - Catalina and the 17-mile, inter-island marathon swim in Hawaii. During the latter, she was stung unmercifully by Portuguese Man-o-War and encountered several Galapagos sharks, but remained in the water - cool, calm and collected. When she puts her mind to something, there is no stopping her. For this reason, I have no doubt that Jen will accomplish her goal of achieving the unprecedented Ocean's Seven."
For more information about Jen Schumacher and her 3MF/Ocean's Seven Challenge, please contact Scott Busby at 310.475.2914 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To follow Jen on her training swims and learn more about her Ocean's Seven schedule, please visit http://www.jenschumacher.org. For more information about Third Millennium Foundation and to contribute to the cause, please visit http://www.3mf.org.