Woman with Multiple Sclerosis announces intent to swim a double crossing of Juan de Fuca Strait

Ultra marathon swimmer Susan Simmons announced her intent to become the first person to attempt a double crossing of the Juan de Fuca Strait. The 52 year old completed an unassisted 30 kilometre crossing of the traditional route swum by ultra marathon pioneers in the 50s including Bert O Thomas, Cliff Lumsdon, Amy Hiland, Marilyn Bell, and Ben Laughren and in the 80s by Vicki Keith (butterfly).

Simmons made the Juan de Fuca crossing on July 31 of this year in 11C water in 10 hours and 6 minutes – the fastest crossing of the traditional route to date. She plans to swim a double crossing next summer in early August. The swim will start near Clover Point in Victoria, Canada and she will swim to Dungeness Spit near Port Angeles, USA overnight. She will then touch land exiting the water for no more than 20 minutes, turn around and swim back to Victoria – a 60km route. Simmons will be attempting this swim, as with her others, unassisted, wearing only a swim suit, swim cap and goggles. She expects the swim to take between 22 and 26 hours.

Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) over twenty years ago, Simmons has been a long distance swimmer for over 7 years. She has accomplished several swims including a 70K swim In Lake Cowichan on Vancouver Island and back to back 25 km swims in the Inside Passage in Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest. Her swims are used to raise awareness about the benefits of fitness for people with MS and more recently to raise funds for the MS Wellness Centre, a Canadian non-profit she starting providing services to people living with MS.

For more information please contact Susan Simmons at 778-678-7356 or susan@msathlete.org

About Susan #WithMS4MS

Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis over twenty years ago, I have chosen a lifestyle that manages the disease through physical fitness and diet. My number one form of exercise is swimming and my diet is vegan. Both minimize the stress on my body, making it possible for me to live an active life.

Swimming in the open-water provides me with a special kind of freedom. Multiple-Sclerosis is a cruel disease. While one of the best ways for me to manage it is to exercise, exercise is also one of the things that can cause me to over-heat and potentially lead to damaging attacks. The open-water keeps me cool where I am free to exercise.

Getting to where I am today has presented many challenges. When I first decided to exercise I had a difficult time walking a block. My initial pool swims were limited to 10 to 20 lengths followed by a 3 hour nap. Over time I built up my stamina and was able to swim for longer and longer periods of time. What soon followed was the ability to participate in other forms of exercise including kayaking, outrigger canoeing, cycling, weightlifting and Crossfit.