Catalina Coda

by Evan Morrison. 16 March 2018.

I was recently browsing CCSF’s new website and noticed new chapters of Penny Lee Dean’s authoritative History of the Catalina Channel - which I had last read in 2011 before my own Catalina swim.

As Catalina’s popularity has exploded in recent years (61 solo swims in 2016) it’s even more impressive that Penny still finds the time to pore through the observer logs and write a few paragraphs about every… single… Catalina swim. It’s a tremendous and laudable contribution.

In a fit of vanity surfing I clicked on the 2011 chapter and found my swim on page 10. Despite nearly seven years passing since my crossing, I had not yet read these words:

Next came Evan Morrison from Chicago to conquer the Catalina Channel. He swam on August 25th. Evan put a layer of grease on himself prior to the start. It consisted of 50% Vaseline and 50% lanolin. Evan swam from Doctor’s Cove on the Island, leaving at 12:11 am. It was a starry night with a light breeze and slight ripple, as reported by the log.
Within the first hour and a half the wind picked up, as did the swells. By 5:50 am the wind had died down and thus the swells. The ocean’s water temperature was 68 degrees at the swimmer’s launch into the water. At 5:10 in the morning it fell to 64 degrees but snuck back to 66 degrees or higher until just before the finish when it plummeted to 62 degrees.
Meanwhile the air temperature started at 68 degrees and rose to a warm 74 degrees at the finish. This helped to balance the cold water.
Evan had an excellent food plan. He took a break every twenty minutes. On his breaks he drank 8oz of Maxim with apple juice or 8 oz of Perpetuem. During the swim he also had a few Ibuprofens in a piece of banana, and mouthwash. His breaks were fast, from five seconds to thirty seconds.
Evan had an excellent stroke. He breathed to both sides and maintained 65 strokes per minute on his swim. Rarely did he change this.
Evan’s GPS landing at Cardiac Hill was 33.44.41 N 118.24.20 W. He arose on the mainland after 8 hours, 55 minutes, and 59 seconds. He was the 212th person to swim Catalina.


Penny sourced these details from the observer log produced by Anne Cleveland and Barbara Held. (Anne passed away from cancer last year, leaving a massive hole in the marathon swimming community, and in the hearts of those who knew her.)

log 1 log 2 log 3

Thank you, Anne, Barbara, and Penny for your efforts in preserving this history.

This swim also represents one of my first forays into video editing. Thank you Amanda Hunt for gathering this footage!

Catalina Channel solo swim from MSF on Vimeo.

Check out other posts I’ve written about the Catalina Channel in the Catalina tag archive.

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Posted in: swim reports Tags: Catalina , observer log