Katie Spotz (born 1987) is an American adventurer who became the youngest person to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean, departing from Dakar, Senegal on January 3, 2010, and landing in Guyana on March 14, 2010. She was the first person to have swum the entire length of the Allegheny River in New York state and Pennsylvania.
Katie works for Kinetico Incorporated as a marketing representative and clean water advocate speaking to schools and groups across the country. She is currently in training for her next endurance challenge, a bike race across America called "Ride for Your Lives." On June 18, 2011, Katie, along with several teammates, embarked on an eight-day cycle race to raise awareness and funds for two charities, Blue Planet Network and FARM-Africa.
Allegheny River swim
In 2008, Spotz became the first person to swim the entire 325 mile (523 km) length of the Allegheny River, which runs between New York state and Pennsylvania. Accompanied by safety kayaker, James Hendershott, the two began on July 22 to hike the "stream" for 27 miles before starting at swimming depth on the river at Roulette, Pennsylvania. The finished at the "Point" where the Allegheny and the Monongahela River join to form the Ohio River in Downtown Pittsburgh less than a month later, on August 21.
On January 3, 2010, Spotz embarked on a solo ocean rowing crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, in a planned 2,473 mile westward route from Senegal to French Guiana. En route she altered the route, increasing the total distance by approximately 400 miles, setting Georgetown, Guyana as the terminus for a total distance of 2,817 miles. Spotz altered course because weather conditions at her original destination were not favorable for an unassisted landing. She completed the trip on March 14, 2010, to become the youngest person to ever row solo across the Atlantic Ocean and the only American to row solo from Africa to South America. Spotz is also only the second woman to have rowed solo across the Atlantic from mainland to mainland, following the January 2007 crossing by Sophie Macé of France who rowed from Saint Louis, Senegal, to Saint Laurent, French Guyana.
Katie's boat, "Liv", is a 19-foot vessel that was used in a successful crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in 2009. The boat was designed by British boat designer Phil Morrison, who had been asked by Scottish rower Chay Blyth, who himself rowed across the North Atlantic in 1966, to design a small, light boat capable of surviving extreme conditions. This design was later modified to a solo vessel.
In 2014, Katie began working with Mark Bowles, a professor of history, to write a book about her row. Entitled "Just Keep Rowing," it is a self-empowerment book with 70 life lessons that parallel the number of days she spent alone at sea rowing across the Atlantic Ocean. Spotz and Bowles will donate proceeds of the book to assist clean water projects in developing nations. They plan to publish in summer 2015.
- "Row for Water — Katie Spotz' solo row across the Atlantic Ocean for safe drinking water". Rowforwater.com. Retrieved 2010-07-10.
- Jodie Valade (December 16, 2009). "Mentor's Katie Spotz prepares for an improbable quest: Rowing the Atlantic Ocean". Cleveland.com. Retrieved March 18, 2010.
- Glasier, David S. (2009-04-26). "GaREAT place to play comes to Geneva". The News-Herald (Ohio). Retrieved 2010-02-24.
- "First the Allegheny, next the Atlantic for Katie Spotz '08". The Story Behind. Warren Wilson College website. Retrieved on 2010-02-24.
- "Swimmer completes 325-mile swim of Allegheny - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review". Pittsburghlive.com. 2008-08-22. Retrieved 2010-07-10.
- Malloy, Daniel (2008-08-22). "Take me to the river". Post-gazette.com. Retrieved 2010-07-10.
- Maag, Christopher (March 14, 2010). "Woman Is the Youngest to Cross an Ocean Alone". The New York Times. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
- "Solo rower Katie Spotz, 22, alters course, adding extra miles and days to her transatlantic attempt". Los Angeles Times. March 8, 2010. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
- Chris Sesno Editor (2009-12-16). "Katie Spotz Hopes to Be Youngest to Row Across Atlantic Ocean". Back Porch FanHouse. Retrieved 2010-07-10.
- Maag, Christopher (December 17, 2009). "American Will Attempt to Cross an Ocean in a Rowboat". The New York Times. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
- Official Website
- Katie Spotz feature in WideWorld magazine
- NPR's Talk of the Nation interview
- NYTimes coverage of planned ocean crossing