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Fuel Shortages Dash Swimmer’s Dreams and Postpone Swim to Next Year

LOS ANGELES, Calif., September 19, 2000 – Local semi-professional swimmer Alexia Nalewaik of Pasadena, California, was to attempt an English Channel solo swim on September 10, 2000, but her hopes and dreams were postponed as protests at British refineries created a national fuel shortage.

An established long-distance swimmer, Nalewaik started swimming at an early age, as a competitive age-group swimmer who excelled in sprint distances. She began her long-distance career with “short” 1 and 2 mile swims, but soone began competing in longer events, such as three to six mile swims, after she discovered the peace and solitude of longer distances. Nalewaik has over ten years of ocean swims and 68 long-distance successes. She swam twelve miles around Coronado Island every summer for four consecutive years, and conquered the 22-mile Catalina Channel.

Upon arriving in England on August 30, Nalewaik discovered that French fishermen had blockaded the coastline to protest high diesel prices. Channel traffic ground to a halt, and protesters prevented traffic through the Channel Tunnel. The French protest lasted only a day, after which cross-channel traffic returned to normal. Nalewaik trained daily in Dover harbor, acclimating to the chilly water temperatures which ranged between 66 degrees at the shoreline and 63 degrees mid-channel, in preparation for the main event. According to Nalewaik, “It was a warm year for Channel swimming, although it was somewhat windy and foggy in the Channel.” While preparing for her swim, she learned the bad news – protesters at British refineries had prevented truckers from delivering gasoline, and fuel was being rationed for emergency services only.

“I was prepared for bad weather, rough conditions, anything except this,” said Nalewaik in an interview upon her return to Pasadena. “The entire country shut down almost overnight. My escort boat was unable to obtain enough fuel to accompany me on the swim, and the media forecasted that it could be 30 days before gas supplies returned to normal.”

With a gasoline crisis in full swing, Nalewaik faced the difficult choice of waiting until the next optimum tide in October, or cancelling the swim and trying again next year. A management consultant with Deloitte & Touche in Los Angeles, Nalewaik maintains a delicate balance between her professional life and public engagements, fundraising, training, and swimming. She has appeared on many television programs such as the “Lifetime Live” talk show on Lifetime Television, KABC-TV, Los Angeles Channel 7 morning and evening news, KCBS-TV, Los Angeles Channel 2 morning news, and her story has also appeared in many print publications. The decision was made to cancel this year’s swim, and return to the United States.

“This is a temporary delay,” Nalewaik emphasizes. “The way I see it, I have ten months to prepare for the next trip to Dover.” Never still for a moment, she has decided to enter a 3-mile race in Avalon, on Catalina Island, this Saturday, September 23. Her training will continue throughout the year, building up to a 28-mile training swim around Manhattan Island in June, 2001, in preparation for another English Channel solo swim attempt in early August, 2001.

Nalewaik’s swim was sponsored by professional services firm Deloitte & Touche and Alta Dena Certified Dairy.


For more information, contact:

Timothy Thompson

Alexia Nalewaik Distance Swimming

(909) 971-2197

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Alexia Nalewaik Distance Swimming
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