Katie Blessington, 17, has accomplished something no other person her age has ever done. Earlier this year, the North Central resident completed the SCAR Swim, which consists of swimming approximately 41 miles in four lakes: Saguaro, Canyon, Apache and Roosevelt (SCAR), over the course of four consecutive days.
The swim serves as a major event for some—as it was for Katie—and as a training event for others, such as those preparing for swimming the English Channel.
Katie is no stranger to swim competitions. The high school senior is a member of the Sunnyslope swim team and trains 10-14 hours per week at Phoenix Swim Club.
However, this was her first multi-day, open-water swim competition, something that made her family nervous.
“Katie has completed other open water swims but when she asked her dad and I about this event, we realized it was at an entirely new level,” says mom Jackie Blessington. “We were her kayak crew, a new experience for us, too. As a parent, this was a nerve wracking event—but the experience was truly amazing for the entire family.”
During the event, the Blessingtons met people from across the country and around the globe. “I am certain Katie has a newfound community of swimmers who will offer support if she chooses to continue open water swimming,” Jackie says.
“Open water swimming challenges both my mental and physical endurance in a way that competitive swimming never has,” Katie pointed out. “Knowing that it took everything I had to finish this race makes it even more rewarding.”
Katie was 22nd out of 41 at Saguaro; 28th out of 39 at Canyon; 24th out of 38 at Apache; and 33rd out of 37 at Roosevelt. Out of the swimmers who completed all four swims, Katie finished 21st out of 31, with a total time of 20:01:36.7.