SwimRVA Donations

2015 was a bit of a bear for me. In late 2014, I broke my left wrist. I spent 2015 recovering from having a metal plate put in to set my wrist and then removed because it was causing me problems (one of which was that it conducted the cold water – not good). And, I lost my mother to her long battle with lung cancer in late 2015. I’ve headed into 2016 with a renewed sense of purpose (as my mother would have wanted). I’m asked quite often…what next. So here it is…

I have decided to tackle a number of events this year. However, my biggest goal for 2016 will be my longest swim to date (by far). Beginning late in the afternoon of September 3rd, I will begin a double Catalina Channel swim. The current plan is to start on the mainland of California around 5:00 p.m….swim to Catalina…clear the water…return to the water (after no more than 10 minutes on shore) and swim back to the mainland of California.

As of March 1, 2016 only 8 people are known to have completed a double Catalina Channel swim. I’m hoping to be on that list by the end of the day on September 4th (or maybe the 5th).

The Catalina Channel is approximately 20 miles wide. So, a double is roughly 40 miles. I completed a one-way Catalina swim in 2013 and it took me 11 hours and 50 minutes.

As with my other swims, I expect the water in Catalina to be pretty chilly – in the low 60s. Again, no wetsuit allowed. Assuming I have decent conditions – I anticipate the swim will take about 25-30 hours.

In addition to Catalina, this spring, I will be going back to Arizona for one of my favorite events – SCAR! Approximately 40 miles over four days in beautiful canyon lakes east of Mesa.

Now, to the point – I’m seeking support for an amazing charity. As in the past, I believe that by raising money for a charity I will have the extra motivation I need to get across the Catalina Channel – twice – and to complete SCAR.

The charity I have selected this year is SwimRVA. http://www.swimrichmond.org

According to the CDC, from 2005-2009, there were an average of 3,533 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States — about ten deaths per day. An additional 347 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents. About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.

Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates. In 2009, among children 1 to 4 years old who died from an unintentional injury, more than 30% died from drowning. Among children ages 1 to 4, most drownings occur in home swimming pools. Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1-4 than any other cause except congenital anomalies (birth defects). Among those 1-14, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes.

Drowning kills many, many more people than sharks do.

SwimRVA’s goal is to teach every second-grader in the Richmond region to swim by the year 2020. Between August 1, 2014 and July 31, 2015, SwimRVA taught 1265 second-graders to swim through a free learn to swim program.

My goal is to raise $20,000 to help SwimRVA teach all second-graders in the Richmond region to swim.

To make it more interesting, I am proposing the following donation choices:

● $500 – The approximate amount of money it takes to teach one second-grader to learn to swim.

● $300 – The number of teeth in a great white shark’s mouth.

● $250 – About $10 per hour for my double Catalina Channel swim.

● $150 – My expected heart rate per minute when I run into scary sea life in the Catalina Channel.

● $100 – The percentage likelihood of running into scary sea life in the Catalina Channel (last time I was nibbled on by a curious sea lion).

● $60 – Expected water temperature in the 60s.

● $50 – The approximate cost of a ferry trip between the mainland of California and Catalina Island.

● Or, make up your own commitment, it’s all appreciated!


1. Visit the link below and that will take you to the donation site.


2. You can make checks payable to SwimRVA. Please include “Courtney Paulk” in the memo line. You can send your check to me and I will ensure its delivery.

All donations are tax deductible.

Thanks for your generosity and support in helping me reach my goal of raising $20,000 for  SwimRVA.