When 16-year-old Angel More dives into the chilly Pacific for a solo marathon swim, she’s not thinking about the daunting number of miles ahead. She’s not thinking about the harsh currents, hypothermia, great white sharks or even how many strokes her Garmin fēnix multisport wearable is counting. One thing occupies her mind. One motivation: helping children.
Some would say Angel’s just a
kid herself; however, she has accomplished more than most people twice her age.
As an open water marathon swimmer, she holds multiple world records, including
being the youngest swimmer to complete the California Triple Crown, a
collection of three marathon swims totaling more than 50 miles.
According to Angel, however,
her biggest accomplishment is raising more than $50,000 for Children
“That motivates me to keep
going,” says Angel.
Angel uses the media
attention she receives to spread awareness and raise money for the Kansas
City-based organization. She has a CrowdRise page where fans can donate, and
she encourages everyone to consider sponsoring a child. She recognizes that
breaking the cycle of poverty is a challenge that must be taken on.
Of course Angel has never shied from a challenge. For her 10th birthday, she set the record for the youngest person to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa. She has since participated in several triathlons, as well as 100-mile bike rides through Napa Valley. She trained for all of this with a Garmin Forerunner 920 before switching to the fēnix. While Angel’s feats come from her own will and capacity for endurance training, she attributes her adherence to training and detailed knowledge of her performance metrics to Garmin.
“It’s been really helpful to see how my times have improved. I’m really happy with what my Garmin device does.” Says Angel, “I always feel lost if I don’t have it.”
Of all the endurance sports
she has participated in, Angel’s passion is swimming. She fell in love with the
water when she was 5, and while she wasn’t the fastest swimmer, she soon became
known for her perseverance.
Angel started open water
swimming in 2014. She was initially drawn to the Alcatraz Swim: a 1.5-mile swim
from notorious Alcatraz Island to shore. Angel went on to complete the swim more
than 50 times. It wasn’t enough of a challenge, and soon Angel sought out harder
swims. She went on to complete open water swims in Sweden, South Africa and
England – each swim requiring special permission because of her age. For a few
of the longer swims, Angel holds the record as the youngest swimmer by far to
complete the swim.
Such an incredible feat isn’t
all that formidable to the 16 year old. She craves the open water and the
trials therein. When she’s in the water, Angel finds reprieve in a zen state
that most endurance athletes can attest to.
“Whenever I swim, I just get
into a flow, and I am entirely focused,” Angel says, “I don’t think of how hard
it is. I just focus.”
Despite her gifted abilities
as a swimmer, Angel has had to earn her achievements. Her training regimen
alone is enough to turn away most athletes.
“I train five to six times in
the pool each week. I try to swim about 6,000 meters in total. Also, two or
three times a week I’ll wake up at 3 a.m. and I’ll swim in the bay for 2 hours
before school. Then on the weekends, I try to get to the ocean and do 4-, 6-
and 12-mile swims.”
When Angel is training for a
particular marathon, she makes a point to swim at least that distance each
week. For 2019, she’s training for longer swims, so she tries to log at least
25-30 miles a week at the behest of her coach, Evan Morrison. An accomplished
swimmer himself, Evan is the creator of the California Triple Crown, as well as
the Marathon Swimmers Federation and LongSwims Database.
The California Triple Crown
consists of three swims: a 12-mile in the Santa Barbara Channel, 20-mile in the
Catalina Channel and 20-mile swimming the length of Lake Tahoe. Angel first
swam Santa Barbara Channel, from shore to Anacapa Island in 2017. She next
attempted the Catalina Channel and finally Lake Tahoe.
Despite the elevation of Lake
Tahoe, 6,000 feet above sea level, Angel admits Catalina was the most difficult
because of the length and the arduous waters. At the end of the swim, when she
was already exhausted, Angel found herself swimming against the current. For
over 2 hours — of the 14-hour swim — Angel fought the shifting tides and made
no progress. Angel admits it was frustrating, but her primary cause pushed her
“Whenever I’m in the water and I’m feeling
tired, I think about the impact I’m making and the reason I’m able to swim
becomes greater than myself,” Angel says.
While Angel is proud of the
records she holds, she’d rather talk about her charity work. She has hosted
multiple fundraising swims and has worked tirelessly to provide awareness for
Children International. Having traveled extensively, Angel has had the
opportunity to meet children impacted by poverty.
“They have dreams and goals
and the only difference between us is that they didn’t have the same
opportunities that I was blessed to be born into,” Angel says, “I want to use
my opportunities to achieve not only my own goals, but to help other kids
achieve their own.”
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