Brendan Halffman ’91 Braves 62-Mile Ocean Swim In Support Of Cancer Fund

Brendan Halffman ’91 braved 62 miles in the Pacific during a fundraising swim for the City of Hope Cancer Center July 19-20. His team, which consisted of six men swimming for one-hour increments, covered a 62-mile route from San Clemente Island to the San Clemente Pier in 33 consecutive hours. The relay event raised more than $68,000 for the cancer center.

Each swimmer was in some way impacted by cancer, Halffman said, which led to the group’s conception of the event nearly two years ago. “We all lost a mutual swimming friend to cancer; one of my teammates had successfully overcome it; and several of us have lost other friends or loved ones to cancer,” he said. “Several of my teammates are accomplished open water swimmers and one of them proposed a charity swim event that combined our shared enthusiasm for swimming with our shared desire to do our part to help people with cancer.”

According to Halffman, swimming with schools of dolphins and being saluted by the Coast Guard were two highlights of the event. The toughest part came when they encountered a strong current south of Catalina Island. But he says it was worth the effort. “During the event I was happy and proud to be on such a strong team: happy because my team was getting closer to our goal, proud because I knew all of us felt strongly about our cause,” he said.

Halffman, who graduated with a dual chemistry/economics degree, hails from Seattle. While at CMC, he swam sprint freestyle events on the varsity team for all four years under the direction of current athletic director Mike Sutton ’76, who was then the CMS head swim coach.

“In college, getting Brendan to go 200 yards was a stretch, but it’s great to hear that he’s swimming long distances now,” Sutton said with a laugh. Halffman attributes this transition to living in southern California. “I decided it would be fun to try open-water swimming, and over the last couple of years I morphed from a sprint event pool swimmer to a longer distance open-water swimmer.”

After graduating, he swam with numerous master’s teams in the Orange county area while earning an M.B.A. from the University of California, Irvine in 1998. He recently moved back to Seattle and is product marketing manager for the high-tech company ADIC. He trains with a master’s team and plans to participate in future charity swims.

Adele Bergstrom ’05 is an intern in the Office of Public Affairs & Communications.