When 16-year-old Balthazar (Bali) Fedalizo jumped into the Pacific Ocean at 3:00 a.m. in the dark hours of September 26, he saw that he was not alone in the water as he swam his share of the 25.1-mile relay. Across the San Pedro Channel.
“I could hear the dolphins during my swim and see them as my hand hit the water,” Bali told The Epoch Times.
“It was very dark at night, but you could see them swimming with bioluminescence in the water.”
Bali and her sister Abigail, 17, were part of a seven-member team of swimmers associated with the non-profit Ocean Fever, a youth empowerment program that introduces children to open water swimming with an emphasis on ocean safety and the environment. Is.
Their mission was to bring awareness to mental health – something the Fedalizo siblings have seen affecting family and classmates since the start of the pandemic.
Abigail told The Epoch Times, “I believe in myself, but others may not believe in themselves as much, or really don’t have that confidence yet.”
“My goal with this swim was to try and help others, build their confidence and inspire them to really believe in themselves.”
The Fedalzio siblings grew up overlooking Catalina Island from their window, and the pair actively engaged in athletics and extra-curricular activities, which helped develop their swimming skills to travel from Catalina Island to the Palos Verdes Peninsula .
In 2017, Bali became the youngest swimmer in history to swim the Pier to Pier race at the age of 10. A mixed martial artist and varsity football player at San Pedro High School also saved a young woman from drowning, for which she was awarded. Red Cross Lifesaver Award.
Abigail has also saved people from drowning. A full-time lifeguard at Huntington State Beach balances his life-saving skills while captaining the San Pedro High School water polo team.
“In Huntington City” [Beach] It can get out there very, very quickly, Abigail said.
“I recently did a massive rip-off rescue there, and went crazy seeing how bad the beach was.”
swim of a lifetime
Through Ocean Fever, swimmers were given the opportunity to have a memorable swim, as well as help generate income for You Are Enough, a program that provides mental health support to teens.
“I was really excited that they were part of the relay team, and you could feel the excitement from the parents that day,” Gertrudes Fedalizzo, the teen’s mother and registered nursing case manager, told The Epoch Times.
“It really arose when we dropped them on the boat.”
The team began swimming from Doctor’s Cove on the northeastern side of Catalina Island.
Equipped with lights on their swimsuits, the team was also assisted by kayakers and a support boat, which illuminated the way with sea lights.
With a water temperature of about 60 degrees and an ocean bursting with marine life, the siblings and their companions made their way across the channel by swimming in the span of an hour.
“There were just dolphins everywhere. They were all around me and it was very scary,” recalled Bali.
“I heard them, but I was too scared to like to look around, so I decided to just keep swimming further.”
As Bali focused on the finish line during her swim, Abigail also kept her focus, mentally controlling herself.
“We stayed in the water for a long time. You just stay motivated,” she said.
“If you want to, if you set your mind to it, you can do it. I wanted to swim that Catalina and I did.”
While swimming in the dark of night, Fedalizos relied on the navigation of his boat team, as his destination was not visible.
When the morning light flashed Palos Verdes beach, the siblings were grateful to be close to completing the 14-hour swim.
“It was so exciting, I mean when you were swimming in the middle of the night, and we couldn’t see anything, even Catalina,” Abigail said.
“When we saw [the shore]’I was like, ‘We’re going to end this.'”
As they reached the rocky shores of Sacred Cove at 12:40 pm, the team was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd.
“I was just really happy. I knew it was over,” Bali said. “The saltwater taste in my mouth” [was] Finally gone. “
Abigail had a similar idea.
“You realize how much you missed the ground,” she said. “And that you would love to be on the ground!”
Gertrudes also remembers the moment her teens came safely to the beach.
“We were very proud. Nobody needed to say anything because you could just feel it and see the look on their faces,” she said.
“That was the point; they didn’t give up. It was something they wanted to do, and they got it done.
While the teens add another feat to their already vibrant resume, they continue to encourage their teammates with the same conviction that propelled the team to swim.
“If you’re just one person, you can always get it done,” Bali said. “But with the help of others who believe in themselves and are self-confident, they can help that person really believe in themselves, make them better.”
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times