Sophomore Mia Thomas one of the youngest to swim Catalina Channel

Sydney Calhoun , Staff Writer

Cathedral Catholic High School sophomore Mia Thomas faced cold temperatures, strong currents and jellyfish while swimming across the Catalina Channel in support of the nonprofit organization Fresh Start Surgical Gifts this past weekend.  

The 13-15-year-old swimmers of Thomas’ team, “Ocean’s Seven,” started with a carb-filled meal at Raffaelos in San Pedro before their swim across the channel. They rested for a few hours, then took a boat 100 feet out from Santa Catalina Island’s Doctor’s Cove at 12 a.m. on Sept. 12.

At 5:15 a.m. Thomas began her second leg of the relay swim in 70 degree water. Three-fourths of the way in, she powered through a strong current and was stung by several jellyfish.

“I felt both relieved and accomplished when I finished,” Thomas said. “I’m so grateful to have a team that I can share that feeling with.”

The girls finally made it to shore after seven hours, 51 minutes and 37 arduous seconds.

Although there were obstacles along the way, not one could stop the girls from raising more money for Fresh Start Surgical Gifts than their original goal of $15,000.

“They each recognized their talents and privileges and wanted to use them to help others in need,” Thomas’ mother, Michella Thomas, said. 

Thomas’ swim career has only just begun, and she is excited to bring her talents to the Lady Dons Varsity Swim team this upcoming season.

“I am so stoked for Varsity swim team this year with Mia because I know she will bring the team positivity and fearlessness,” CCHS junior Jessica Pentlarge said.

Positive and fearless are two words to describe the Don who successfully took on the Catalina Channel, making Thomas and her Ocean’s Seven teammates just a few of the swimmers to accomplish the feat at their age.