News and Events

Swim From the Heart Participant Guy Cohen to Swim Catalina Channel

Publication Date: 7/18/2019

Guy Cohen, a three-time participant in Rambam’s annual Swim From the Heart event and fundraiser for sudden cardiac death, is attempting the final swim of the Triple Crown Open Water.

Guy Cohen’s children at the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. Photo courtesy of Guy Cohen.Guy Cohen’s children at the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. Photo courtesy of Guy Cohen.

Starting at midnight on July 18th, Israeli open water swimmer Guy Cohen will attempt to swim across California’s Catalina Channel, a distance of 32.5 km/20 miles. This will be Cohen’s third and final leg of the “Triple Crown of Open Water”, which also includes the English Channel and the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. If successful, Cohen will be the second Israeli swimmer and the first Israeli male to join this prestigious club.

Cohen’s open water career began in 2016, when he completed a 24-hour solo charity swim along the coast of Israel, covering a distance of 70.2 km/43.6 miles. Cohen’s initial plan was to do the swim in memory of his six-year-old daughter Neta, who had collapsed and died of cardiac arrest 15 years earlier, on her first day of first grade. He was in the midst of training for his open water swimming challenge when he learned about Rambam’s very first Swim From the Heart – an event aimed at raising awareness of and funds for research into sudden cardiac death in children and young adults. Swim From the Heart was a natural fit with Cohen’s own swim, and he immediately opted to combine the two, timing his swim to coincide with the Rambam event.

Cohen has since participated in every annual swim, and helps to raise funds for sudden cardiac death research as an ambassador for Rambam Health Care Campus. When he enters the water to swim the Catalina Channel with Eyal Schachner – his masters-swim teammate, Cohen will be cheered on by former Haifa resident Dr. Levy Gerzberg, who initially conceived of Swim From the Heart, and Eric Schleelein, who has participated in that event several times.

“Levy and Eric will be with me throughout the race on the escort boat and will accompany us through the small hours of the night, hoping to get safely to the California coastline,” explains Cohen, adding, “the Catalina Channel swim is a continuation of the swimming challenges that I started three years ago, with my 24-hour open water swim in conjunction with Rambam’s Swim From the Heart. It is not easy to swim for hours at sea, and especially not at night in the cold, but I don’t give up. I think about Neta and my family.”