Around this time of the year, most 16-year-olds are just getting themselves ready for the upcoming school year. Angel More, however, is gearing up for what many would consider a feat on a whole new level—the 20 Bridges swim—and she’s not just doing it for herself. On August 17, Angel will swim 28.5 miles in an effort to raise awareness for Children International, an organization that supports children in poverty by giving kids 70+ community centers to live in, a team of local doctors, dentists, coaches, staff, and 9,000 worldwide volunteers to inspire, encourage, and support them. The program supports a clear path out of poverty that focuses on health, education, empowerment, and employment via country-relevant and age-specific programs and services, according to the charity’s website.
The 20 Bridges Swim circumnavigates around the island of Manhattan through the East River, Harlem River, and Hudson River, under Manhattan’s 20 bridges including the George Washington Bridge, The Triborough, The 59th Street Bridge, and The Brooklyn Bridge.
Angel will kick off her journey at Pier A in Battery Park. As a World Champion teen swimmer and California native, last year she became the youngest person to complete the California Triple Crown of marathon swimming, which is a series of three open-water solo marathon swims.
This is all part of her effort to raise $1 million within the next two years for Children International’s HOPE scholarship fund which will support 5,000 teenagers around the world who want to continue their education in high school, college, or technical school. She made the announcement on her blog page last Wednesday.
“In a few weeks I will be swimming around Manhattan Island in New York! The swim is 28 miles long! As someone who has lived in California my whole life, I really love New York and may even go to college there,” Angel wrote. “The swim will start at 9:05am, and the whole swim will be in the daylight, so it will be almost as if I get a tour of the whole Manhattan Island! I am really excited for this swim. As soon as I get back from New York, I have school. I am going into senior year, and I am applying to colleges. It's a lot of work, but it is also a lot of fun.”
It doesn’t just stop at swimming for this rising senior though—she has set records for hiking as well and has raised more than $58,000 for Children International in doing so. When she was 10 years old, she became the youngest girl to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world.
Other places where Angel has swam before include the Santa Barbara Channel, which is a 12-mile swim between Anacapa and the California mainland, the Catalina Channel, a 20-mile swim between Santa Catalina Island and Rancho Palos Verdes that took her 14.5 hours, and a swim through Lake Tahoe in its entirety, which she completed in August 2018 by swimming 21.3 miles in 15 hours.
Angel has been a swimmer since she was 2. At age 11, she completed her first open swim: a 1.5-mile, 40-minute journey from Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay back to shore.
Philanthropy work isn’t new to Angel either. Last year, she organized an “Escape from Alcatraz to Escape from Poverty” swim around Alcatraz that raised more than $8,000 for Children International.
“This summer, along with my training, I have been working on my college applications,” Angel wrote on her blog page. “I know how important education is, and I am so grateful for all the opportunities that I have been born with. I am really excited to start a new chapter in my education journey and be able to learn more about what I am interested in,” she wrote. “I want to be able to share my opportunities with deserving, intelligent kids. I HOPE you’ll join me. Let's break the cycle of poverty for children around the world through education.”
Main Image: Angel More completing her Catalina swim. Courtesy of Dara Kaplan.