RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey teenager is swimming into uncharted territory, trying to break a world record and become the youngest swimmer in the world to complete one of the sports world’s most challenging obstacles.
As CBS 2’s Tracee Carrasco reported, for 16-year-old Charlotte Samuels, no ocean is too deep and no goal is too big.
“I’m trying to be the youngest person to ever do the triple crown of open water swimming,” Samuels said.
The Ridgewood teen is hoping to make history with three swims, each more than 20 miles long in open waters: the Manhattan Marathon, Catalina Channel off the coast of California, and the English Channel — a feat no one her age has ever completed.
“Open water is not like a pool at all. And it’s a completely different sport and a completely different environment,” Samuels said.
As of June, the teen has checked the Manhattan Marathon off her list. Samuels swam the 28.5-mile marathon in nine grueling hours and 54 minutes, Carrasco reported.
Next month, Samuels will travel to California to make the 20.2-mile swim across the Catalina Channel in the Pacific Ocean at night, in the most challenging conditions.
“A lot of times when you’re out there and you know what’s around you, you know what kind of conditions you’re in, what kind of animals are around you, you can sometimes get into your own head,” she said.
Samuels began open water swimming at 12 years old. Right now, she trains six days a week, three hours a day, and her parents couldn’t be more supportive of their daughter’s ambitious goal, Carrasco reported.
“What an amazing thing to see your child find something that they absolutely love,” said Samuels’ mother Suzanne.
“I feel like there’s no way that you can be in more harmony with the world and with the universe than to be in it. And I feel like being submerged in the water, you’re basically as close as you can get to being a part of nature,” said Samuels.
Samuels hopes to swim across the English Channel this September or next summer, adding the third and final jewel to her triple crown of swimming.
The youngest person to have completed the triple crown of open water swimming is 20 years old.
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