Colorado

Aug 7, 2012 1:02 PM by Zach Thaxton

CSPD officer completes grueling swim across English Channel

While the world watches the amazing physical feats being accomplished by the Olympic athletes in London, a 33-year-old Colorado Springs police officer is back on the job after accomplishing her own tremendous physical feat in the same nation.

Officer Katie Benoit, a two-year member of CSPD's Sand Creek Division, recently completed a successful swim across the English Channel. It's a grueling 21-mile straight-line, open-water swim which almost never is accomplished in a mere 21 miles.

"You're dealing with colder temperatures," Officer Benoit said. Water temperatures hover around 60 degrees. "You have to deal with waves, tides, currents, marine life -- there might be jellyfish." Benoit says her swim ended up being around 36 miles, not 21.

"When we hit the French coast, we were about a kilometer from the coast and the tide was really starting to pull me out and they told me to sprint against the tide and I just didn't think it was something I could do 12 hours into a swim."

Officer Benoit eventually did make it that final kilometer, finishing her swim in 13 hours, 13 minutes. It completed the "Triple Crown" of open-water distance swims for the German native. She had previously swum across the Catalina Channel and completed the Manhattan Marathon Mile, a swim completely around Manhattan Island. Fellow officers say Benoit's skills in the water became indispensable earlier this summer when a massive hail storm flooded an intersection near the Citadel Mall. Benoit selflessly entered the rising, freezing waters and helped rescue people from their flooding cars.

"I'm probably a little bit more comfortable with water than most people, so I felt an obligation to do something," she said. "You can't just sit there and watch people in a situation like that if you have a water background."

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