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The start of something extraordinary

Kiwi marathon swimmer up for World Open Water Woman of the Year Award

From nearly losing a leg to becoming the first New Zealander to complete the Oceans Seven, Kimberley Chambers has been nominated for the second year in a row for the World Open Water Swimming Association Woman of the Year Award.

Chambers’ journey in marathon swimming began after a fall which resulted in her almost having to have her leg amputated.

After being told she had just a 1% chance of walking unassisted again she took to swimming, for her first time since primary school, as part of her rehabilitation.

Chambers was soon competing in her first open water swims and the addiction began.

As well as being the first New Zealander to complete the Oceans Seven challenge she is also just the third women to complete the feat and the sixth person altogether.

The Oceans Seven is the open water swimming equivalent to the Seven Summits of mountaineering. The seven swims are chosen for particularly challenging water conditions (strong currents/cold water) with significant wildlife risks such as sharks and jellyfish.

Chambers completed her final of the seven swims in September this year across the North Channel and it proved to be one of her most challenging swims.

After being stung multiple times by jellyfish during her swim she was admitted to hospital suffering from toxic shock from the stings.

Chambers grew up in Te Kuiti and is a former ballerina and rower for the University of California, Berkley.

Although she now lives in San Francisco, USA Chambers proudly shows off where she is from wearing a New Zealand flag on her swim cap for all her swims.

In 2012 she was nominated for the WOWSA Performance of the Year Award.

You can vote for Chambers for the 2014 WOWSA Woman of the Year Award here. Voting is open until January 1st 2015.

The Oceans Seven consists of the following;

• North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland

• Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand
• Molokai Channel between Oahu and Molokai Islands in Hawaii
• English Channel between England and France
• Catalina Channel between Catalina Island and the Southern California mainland
• Tsugaru Channel between the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido in Japan
• Strait of Gibraltar between Europe and Africa

For more about Kimberley Chambers visit her website.