The Westbrook grandmother who holds open-water swimming records is attempting to complete the Oceans Seven challenge that consists of seven channel crossings around the globe.

Pat Gallant-Charette announced in her blog Thursday morning that she had received the go-ahead to begin her swim across Cook Strait in New Zealand. Her blog said she started the crossing Thursday around 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, which was 7 a.m. local time in New Zealand.

“This swim will be the adventure of a lifetime,” Gallant-Charette wrote in her blog. “Especially at the age of 68 years and 27 days old.”

Gallant-Charette, who became the oldest woman to swim the English Channel in June 2017, is seeking to notch the last crossing in the Oceans Seven challenge, which also includes the North Channel, the Molokai Channel, the Catalina Channel, the Tsugaru Strait and the Strait of Gibraltar. The Oceans Seven is considered open-water swimming’s equivalent to the Seven Summits challenge pursued by mountaineers who seek to climb the highest peak on each continent.

Cook Strait separates the north and south islands of New Zealand and is roughly 14 miles across at its narrowest. Gallant-Charette, who is bidding to become the oldest woman to make the crossing, likely will swim considerably farther because of the currents.

In her blog, Gallant-Charette credits her coach at the YMCA of Southern Maine with helping her to become a better swimmer.


“A special thank you to Suzi Boccanfuso for helping me to improve my stroke technique,” Gallant-Charette wrote.

Gallant-Charette’s daughter, Sarah Charette, is posting Facebook updates on her mother’s progress. An update posted just before 9 p.m. Thursday includes a 10-second video in which Gallant-Charette’s son can be heard commenting on his mother’s progress.

“Here we are at the six-hour mark. Mom’s looking pretty good. Staying strong. Formation looks good. Keep it up,” Tom Charette said.

At that point in her swim, Gallant-Charette was just over one-third of her way into the Cook Straight crossing.

In addition to the English Channel, the retired nurse holds the record for being the oldest woman to swim the Tsugaru Strait in Japan, the North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland, and the Molokai Channel in Hawaii. She was inducted into the Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in Melbourne, Australia, last March.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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