A Danville woman became the first American woman to swim the 9.3-mile Bonifacio Channel By herself from Corsica, France, to Sardinia, Italy.
"The original plan was for the swim to be Saturday, but the current shifted and we had to adjust it to Friday and instead of swimming from Italy to France, I swam from France to Italy to adjust with the current," April Warrick, 27, said Monday.
She completed the swim in 4 hours 45 minutes. While she didn't practice in the channel, she swam in a beach in Italy "to get a feel of the water there," she said from Sardinia, where she and her husband, William Warrick, are staying to continue their vacation.
About two miles until reaching land, she said the current "completely shifted and made it a lot harder. The last mile was just awful."
About halfway through, she saw a jellyfish and was unable to do anything about it before it stung her on her face, hairline and arms. She felt it, but was so focused on swimming, "I think I blocked it out. The salt water seemed to flush them out."
While she swam, a small boat traveled along with a doctor, her husband and the ship's captain, who is also a swim coach.
She received a certificate, in Italian, for completing the feat. "I think I will get a medal from the organization behind the scenes that worked on the permits and certificates," she said.
She said paperwork will be submitted to the world's open water swimming association.
Warrick trains at the Danville Area Community Center pool and was a lifeguard there before she got into open swimming.
"She really did great," said center operations director Heather Laubach. "She does a lot of training here and puts in a lot of time training. There was a lot of planning to do to make sure it all worked out. It was exciting to see her keep going and to see her be successful in an open swim. It's really cool that someone from the local area was able to do something like that."
Warrick has been doing open swimming for about one year. "I think because it's more of an adventure. It's just a wide open space and you really feel the ocean's strength beneath you when you are in it," Warrick said.
Near the end of her swim to Italy, she became overcome with emotion after seeing the ocean floor. "I looked down and thought oh my goodness for the last nine miles I have been staring at blue and all of a sudden, I saw a rock."
Warrick, who works for the federal government, swam last year from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco, which is about a 2-mile distance, twice.
She plans to try more open water swimming. "I'm looking at the great lakes or Lake Tahoe," she said.