About David

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Water Transforms David

David Yudovin, 11 hours and 37 minutes marathon swim between Maio Island to Santiago Island, Africa. June 30 2013

David Yudovin was an American from California who became known around the world as a channel swimmer. With more than a 35 Year career, David completed numerous channel swims that nobody has ever done.

There are no gold medals, no loving cups, and no elaborately inscribed certificates to laud David Yudovin’s all-time world record achievements. Using only cap and goggles with determination and true grit, David holds multiple world records and was inducted into the Marathon Swimmers’ Hall of Fame in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida joining an honor roll of only about 130 other swimmers from around the world.

David started on a swim team when he was six and a half. From the beginning, he had almost a spiritual connection with the water. “It touches every chord of my heart and soul that triggers remarkable surges of creativity.”

During his adult swims of up to 15 hours plus, he battled and defeated deadly whirlpools, thousands of jellyfish stings, hot water, cold water, nasty currents and highly uncooperative tides and weathers.

David’s goals were never been about speed. Instead, he decided to make his mark in swimming by being the first to complete channel swims around the world and to plan his swimming career for longevity.

He applied an adaptive strategy by considering his age and health during the different phases of his life so that he could continue to pursue his life long passion and simply channel swim for the whole of his life.

David is one of the world’s most accomplished long-distance channel swimmers and his determination kept him passionate about life. David has a long list of first completions to his name. He has swum the 20 miles from or to Catalina Island four times, starting in 1976. He swam and conquered the English Channel in 1996, and he conquered dangerous straits in Japan, Mexico, Hawaii, New Zealand, to and from Java and from Morocco to Gibraltar.

David’s Biography

At age six, David begged a coach at the Beverly Hills YMCA for a spot on the swim team. Normally participants were required to be at least eight years old. Sensing an abnormal determination, the coach said if David could do the crawl for a mile nonstop, he’d qualify. David did. “I liked what it did for me physically and what it did for my mind.”

David attended the Northern Arizona University of Flagstaff AZ where much of his time he learned how to swim long distance in the pool.

He came back to Los Angeles determined to complete his first channel marathon. David suffered a near-fatal heart attack during his second marathon and this experience gave him massive philosophical proportions “giving me a profound appreciation of life and its opportunities.”

In 1981, David went to Oregon to work in a fish-packing plant to acquire the skills needed to start an independent brokerage; Ocean Crystal Seafood.

In 1984, David decided to set up his own business. Enter Beth, one of the very few female investment bank officers in Tulsa Oklahoma. They met while co-chairing a half-ironman competition to benefit the Special Olympics. Beth had never been on the ocean until meeting David. Beth was his coach and manager.

David Survived Cancer

In 1988 David was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia.  He was given a prognosis of less than a 50/50% chance of survival over the next few days.  David persevered through the treatments and in 1990 made the record books again by being the first to swim the Tsugaru Channel in Japan.

Succession Planning for Retirement

In 2005, David sold his business, Ocean Crystal Seafood, to the employees. All the planning was in place for a successful retirement. He and Beth began devoting much of their time to volunteer work of various organizations they believe in.

Incredible Track Record

During his 60′s,  he had an enviable track record. David’s resume includes the crossings of the English Channel, the Strait of Gibraltar, the Cook Strait in New Zealand, the Sunda Strait in Indonesia, the Tsugaru Strait in Japan, among others.

His marathons were planned in meticulous detail with the help of Beth accompanying him on all trips. “It is she who knows about me, she knows what I need to keep in shape and to have the necessary conditions for optimum concentration and best effort.”

Year Country Location Distance Time RECORD
1976 USA Catalina Island to California Coast 19 nautical miles 11 hours,
51 minutes
1982 USA Anacapa Island to California Coast 11 nm 8 hours,
27 minutes
1983 USA Santa Cruz Island to California Coast 16 nm 15 hours,
15 minutes
1984 USA North Coronado Island to Mexico 11 nm 6 hours,
22 minutes
1985 AFRICA to SPAIN Morocco to Gibraltar 11 nm 9 hours,
27 minutes
1986 USA California Coast to Catalina Island 19 nm 13 hours,
45 minutes 
1990 JAPAN Honchu Island to Hokkaido Island 17 nm 11 hours,
54 minutes
1991 MEXICO South Coronado Island to Mexico Coast 8.5 nm 4 hours,
6 minutes
1991 MEXICO North Coronado Island to Mexico Coast 11 nm 7 hours,
45 minutes
1st and 2nd person
1992 MEXICO South Coronado Island to Mexico Coast 8.5 nm 4 hours,
20 minutes
1992 MEXICO South Coronado Island to Mexico Coast 8.5 nm 4 hours,
25 minutes
1993 MEXICO South Coronado Island to Mexico Coast 8.5 nm 4 hours,
15 minutes
1993 USA Catalina Island to California Coast 19 nm 11 hours,
49 minutes
1995 USA Catalina Island to California Coast 19 nm 10 hours,
46 minutes
1996 ENGLAND to FRANCE English Channel 18 nm 13 hours,
37 minutes
1996 INDONESIA Bali to Java 6 nm 1 hours,
36 minutes
1997 INDONESIA Nusa Penida to Bali 9 nm 2 hours,
48 minutes
2000 INDONESIA Sunda Strait, Java to Sumatra 15 nm 10 hours,
34 minutes
2002 HAWAII Lanai to Maui 10 nm 4 hours,
47 minutes, 15 seconds
2002 HAWAII Molokini to Maui 5 nm 2 hours,
6 minutes
2003 HAWAII Molokini to Maui 5 nm 2 hours,
16 minutes
2003 HAWAII Maui to Molokai 10 nm 4 hours,
14 minutes
2003 HAWAII Maui to Kahoolawe Island 8 nm 4 hours,
18 minutes, 14 seconds
2003 HAWAII Molokai to Lanai 10 nm 5 hours,
11 minutes, 15 seconds
2003 NEW ZEALAND Cape Wiwiki to Cape Brett, Bay of Islands, 10nm 5 hours, 23 minutes, 08 seconds 1st
2004 NEW ZEALAND Cook Strait from the North island to South Island 16 nm 9 hours,
38 minutes
2008 TAHITI Moorea Channel, French Polynesia from Tahiti Island to Moorea Island 10 nm 6 hours,
20 minutes
2008 PORTUGAL Faial Pico Channel, Azores from Faial Island to Pico Island 5 nm 2 hours,
20 minutes
2008 PORTUGAL Pico S. Jorge Channel, Azores from Pico Island to S. Jorge Island 10 nm 7 hours,
26 minutes
2008 PORTUGAL Corvo Floress Channel, Azores from Corvo Island to Flores Island 10 nm 7 hours,
10 minutes
2010 PORTUGAL Ihla Madeira Ihla Desertas Grande Channel, Madeira Islands from Ihla Madeira to Ihla Desertas Grande 11 nm 7 hours,
03 minutes
2011 INDONESIA Sipika Island to Simaleko Island. North Sumatra 8 nm 3 hours,
59 minutes
2011 INDONESIA Telo Island to Sigata Island. North Sumatra 5 nm 3 hours,
36 minutes
2011 INDONESIA Tanah Masa Island to Pini Island. North SumatraVideo:
Telo Island Swim
11.5nm 7 hours,
52 minutes
2012 AFRICA Santo Antonio Island to San Vincente Island. Cape Verde

News Video:
10.5 nm 5 hours,
44 minutes
2012 AFRICA Fogo Island to Brava Island. Cape VerdeNews Video:
Fogo-Brava Channel Swim News Video

12.6 nm 6 hours,
38 minutes
2013 AFRICA Maio Island to Santiago Island. Cape Verde, Africa. 16 nm 11 hours,
37 minutes
2013 INDONESIA Simeleko Island to Tanahmasa Island, Baluta Beach, North Sumatra 4.85 nm 3 hours,
34 minutes
2013 INDONESIA Tanahmasa Island, Rangas Beach to Simeleko Island, North Sumatra 5.5 nm 3 hours,
33 minutes
2013 INDONESIA Telo Island to Sigata Island, North Sumatra 5.5 nm 3 hours,
40 minutes
2013 INDONESIA Pini Island to Laga Island, North Sumatra 7.5 nm 5 hours, 46 minutes 1st
2014 AFRICA Principe Is./Around Gale’ Rock Island/Principe Is. Sao Tome’, Africa 6 nm 3 hrs. 55 mins.hours, 1st
2014 AFRICA Isla Tinhosa Pequena/Principe Island, Sao Tome, Africa 11.5 nm 6 hrs. 1 mins.hours, 1st

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