First Deaf Woman Swims Anacapa Channel

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DSU provided staff and interpreters for the momentous September 12th swim.

“Channel swimmers typically have their coach on a boat telling them what to do, when to take breaks, and most importantly to encourage the swimmer. When DSU heard Micki’s story – we knew we had to help Micki find an interpreter that would match her coach’

Micki Poole, a 50 year old Deaf competitive swimmer from Greeley, Colorado completed the Anacapa Island Channel swim of the Santa Barbara Channel in California on September 12th in 7 hours, 2 minutes. Poole became the first Deaf person to finish the 12.4 mile feat.

Channel swimming is cold and fraught with choppy water, currents, predatory fish, and there are all kinds of rules to make it harder, for instance the use of wetsuits is strictly prohibited.

“Typically five people attempt this swim every year, and half of them make it”, said the president of the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association, Scott Zornig. Poole will be recognized for her accomplishment at the club’s banquet in November.

“Channel swimmers typically have their coach on a boat telling them what to do, when to take breaks, and most importantly to encourage the swimmer. When DSU heard Micki’s story – we knew we had to help Micki find an interpreter that would match her coach’s spirit and enthusiasm… and most importantly help give her an equal playing field throughout this momentous feat.” - Diana Kautzky, President of Deaf Services Unlimited

Bethany Koubsky, a DSU interpreter for the past 15 years, interpreted on the boat for Poole. Koubsky met with the swimmer and was selected because of her language match as well as being an athlete herself. Koubsky has competed in triathlons, marathons, and half-marathons. Understanding competition lends itself well to these unique interpreting demands, having insights on what and how language needs to be communicated when you are in the middle of the channel swim.

“I want to thank DSU for helping me find my interpreter. Bethany was such a great match because we have a lot in common and we made a great team for the Anacapa Channel Swim.”
– Micki Poole

Deaf Services Unlimited offers a full array of interpreting and communication services including: sign language interpreting, captioning, Telecommunications Access Iowa (TAI), real-time captioning (CART services), video remote interpreting, presentations, and staff training sessions. DSU manages sign language interpreting services for nearly 1,200 organizations throughout the U.S., no matter the setting, be it a live theatre performance, a doctor’s appointment, the workplace, classroom or video interpreting. For additional information about DSU, visit http://www.deafservicesunlimited.com or contact Scott Richey at scott@deafservicesunlimited.com.

Micki Poole became a world record holder in the Deaflympics in 1981 and 1985. She swam in the Division III NCAA championships from ’86-88. She became a marathon swimmer, tackling the kinds of distances few ever accomplish. She is a four-time finisher at the Horsetooth Reservoir Openwater 10K, a distance considered the equivalent of a marathon. You can read more about Micki Poole on her Go Fund Me page at http://www.gofundme.com/SwimmingInSilence.

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Scott Richey

Scott Richey
@DSULTD
since: 06/2012
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