The Big Swim

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August 23, 2018

Former Navy Seal Attempts 21-mile Marathon Swim – San Clemente Island
To Catalina Island to Raise Funds for Disabled Veterans and the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation

On September 17, 2018, Dave Loeffler, a former Navy SEAL will set out to accomplish a never-been-done-before, unassisted, 21 mile marathon swim from San Clemente Island to Catalina Island to raise awareness of the sacrifices, challenges and triumphs of America’s disabled veterans. According to Loeffler, due to the remoteness and inaccessibility of San Clemente Island as a military base, this swim has not been attempted before. The physical challenges of swimming 12-15 hours or more in the open ocean, the environmental factors such as the water temperature averaging in the low 60’s F, and the fact that this area is also known for a dense population of Great White sharks serves as a great backdrop to bring awareness to the physical and mental challenges of disabled vets. “This,” says Loeffler, “is exactly why this swim provides a hearty challenge and drama to increase awareness of our cause to promote awareness for disabled veterans and help raise funds for those that are serving our veterans.”

Loeffler chose the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation as the beneficiary of the fundraising because of their pioneering Ocean Therapy program that combines adaptive surf lessons and group therapy for those suffering from mental and physical effects of traumatic experiences. JMMF conducts regular Ocean Therapy sessions with the Wounded Warrior Battalion-West at Camp Pendleton, CA and with veterans from all branches of the military in conjunction with the West Los Angeles Veterans Hospital. The most common disabilities that challenge our military servicemen are PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). Ocean Therapy’s goal is to improve self-efficacy, self-confidence and the joy the ocean brings to all, helping them heal both physically and mentally.

The BIG SWIM will be sanctioned, observed and documented by the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association (SBCSA) and adhere to the basic rules of solo marathon swimming. The swimmer can never touch the escort boat, kayak or another person and will remain in the water for the duration and only wear a non-thermal, single layer swim suit, a swim cap and swim goggles – no wetsuit. The crew will consist of ultra athletes, medical professionals, official observers from the SBSCA, photographers and Dave’s support team that will feed him liquids and solids throughout the swim.

When asked why Loeffler is doing this swim, he said ,“I am a disabled vet and want to share my passion of feeling closest to nature and to God, when immersed in the worlds open waters.”

The BIG SWIM will depart King Harbor in Redondo Beach, CA at 10 am on September 17, 2018 and head directly to San Clemente Island. Loeffler will start at 10 pm and swim directly to Catalina Island with an anticipated arrival around 10 am, Tuesday, September 18. There will be a live feed during the swim and you can track his progress by visiting:

To contribute, please visit:

About Dave Loeffler:

Dave Loeffler is a former SEAL Team member who graduated BUD/S class 139 and served at SEAL Team 4. He is a service-connected, disabled vet and an employee of the VA hospital in Prescott, AZ. After his service, Dave became an open ocean marathon swimmer with experience in the Channel Islands and Lake Michigan. Dave is married and lives and works in Prescott, AZ.

About the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation:
The Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation (JMMF) is a non-profit, established in 2005 that provides free of charge Ocean and Surf Therapy to the United States Marine Corps, Wounded Warrior Battalion-West, West Los Angeles Veterans and at-risk youth groups throughout Los Angeles and Southern California. JMMF honors the life of Jimmy Miller, a Los Angeles County Lifeguard, accomplished and honored waterman, author, and teacher who started Pure Surfing Experience/Camp Surf more than twenty years ago as the official “Surf School” of Manhattan Beach, CA. To date, JMMF has helped thousands of at-risk children, Wounded Warriors, and Veterans experience the ocean and surfing, while increasing their confidence and self-efficacy through guided group therapy, conducted by licensed therapists, lifeguards and trained volunteers. For more information: or

Jodi Flicker: 310-780-2724
Nancy Miller 310-266-0400

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