90 Years of Guemes Channel Swimmers: 1914-2004

This photo and blurb appeared in the Anacortes American on September 19, 1962 when Claudia was just a few weeks shy of her 18th birthday.

Having twice swam across the Guemes Channel, Claudia Lowman gathered information about others who have also made the crossing between Fidalgo and Guemes Islands.

"Yes, I did swim the channel-- twice. I plan to repeat it again within the next few years as a kind of "not over the hill, yet" statement. My aunt (Betty Lowman, now Carey) was the first female to swim the channel. She did this in 1928 and holds the most records in our unofficial event: she was the youngest, first female, made the crossing in all kinds of seasons (including the middle of winter) and accomplished the most crossings, though I am not sure how many that turned out to be. She also swam to Cypress Island one time but her dad put a stop to a swim to Lopez. A third generation in our family, Phil Elvrum, also made the swim in 2002. He is the son of Flip and Janet (Lowman) Elvrum of Anacortes. Janet is my first cousin.

I am awaiting more information about Ted Harper. He was one swimmer I didn't know about until finding the information on the linetime.org website. I have included that info in my history, but hope to make contact with Ted for more details and, hopefully, a picture. Actually, I was just making these pages for Gil Bowlin, latest known swimmer to swim from Anacortes to Guemes. He and I were to swim it together early last fall as a class of 1962 event with other classmates walking, riding bikes, or running for a total of 62 miles, when the events were added together. In circuit training workouts, however, I sustained a rotator cuff injury sidelining me for this and lots of other activity for almost a year. I'm doing better, but still have a few twinges if I try to lift heavy things. Gil accomplished the swim with more things going against him than anyone else: he had a stroke some years back has arthritis and is diabetic. He, at 63, is the oldest swimmer to successfully make the distance."

Tags: History