La Jollan sets Catalina Channel swim record


La Jolla resident Todd Robinson on Tuesday set a men’s record for swimming the Catalina Channel for the route from Catalina Island to the Mainland.

Accompanied by a support boat and kayakers, he completed the swim in 8:05.44. The women’s record for the same route is held by Karen Burton Reeder, who completed the distance in 1994 in 7:43.06.

The record for swimming the opposite direction was set in 1976 by Penny Lee Dean at 7:15.55.

Robinson, 42, who works in the U.S. Attorney’s office, started the swim at Doctor’s Cove near Two Harbors and finished at the lighthouse at Pt. Vicente near Palos Verdes.

La Jolla Realtor Anne Cleveland, who was an observer for the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation, said “put his head down and swam and did not stop until he crawled out onto some rather large boulders on the other side.”

She noted in an e-mail Wednesday morning that the water temperature ranged from 66 to 68 degrees before it dropped to 60 degrees at the end.

Cleveland, like Robinson a member of the La Jolla Cove Swim Club, has also completed the Catalina Channel swim as well as the Maui and English Channels. At 48 in 2004, she became the oldest person to swim the English Channel both ways.