Monte Monfore

Extreme Swimming
Taking sport to the limit, Monte Monfore has dedicated his life to ocean swimming for environmental and social causes. Since moving to Bali June 2004 the endurance athlete has produced more than a dozen events supporting children and others in Indonesia and worldwide, including eight channel crossings, and six United Nations events (three World Food Programme and three Millennium Campaign events). Garnering millions of viewers worldwide, thousands of articles and TV news stories about his swimming efforts to improve the lives of others have appeared in national and international media, including hundreds of articles and videos on the internet.

Swimming for the Earth and Humanity

Monte has gained widespread recognition not only as an ocean swimmer, but also as an environmentalist and humanitarian. While previously swimming in support of marine life and ocean protection, Monte’s commitment to support the less fortunate began following the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed more than 200,000 people and displaced more than one million others. His 17-kilometer crossing from Nusa Lembongan to Bali saw the swimmer speak passionately about the plight of victims in Aceh, Sumatra and elsewhere.

Since the 2004 Tsunami Swim his events have supported the Balinese following the terrorist bombings, tsunami and earthquake victims, hungry children and the poor, mentally and physically challenged kids, and promoted children’s education, ocean conservation, the protection of marine animals, and the fight against climate change and global warming. In addition to supporting three children’s homes in Bali his swimming supports United Nations, UNICEF, UNDP, World Food Program, Millennium Campaign, Greenpeace, and WWF initiatives.

UN Swimming

October 2006 in support of the United Nations Millennium Campaign the marathon swimmer completed a first-ever recorded crossing of Lake Batur in the highlands of Bali. Footage of the event was sent worldwide by Reuters Television to bring the plight of extreme poverty into living rooms around the globe. Also in 2006 Monte contributed to two World Food Programme efforts.

In May as part of the global WFP Fight Hunger campaign the athlete swam a double-crossing of the 4-kilometer Bali Strait. In June following the devastating earthquake in central Java his 12.5-kilometer (four-hour) Yogyakarta Earthquake Relief Swim raised awareness and support for victims and publicized WFP emergency relief efforts. In May 2007 Monte swam another WFP Fight Hunger Swim in Lombok and his UN Millennium Campaign Satu Hati Education Swim saw him swim from Bali to Java on Indonesian Independence Day August 17. Monte's 6-kilometer Reverse Climate Change Swim from Serangan Island to Nusa Dua - another Millennium Campaign event - supported the United Nations Climate Change Convention in Bali December 2007.

Ocean Enthusiast

While it is common for people to fear swimming in the depths of the open sea, Monte thrives on it. This was not always the case. While snorkeling on his first trip to Bali, Indonesia, upon seeing a one-meter reef shark the swimmer panicked and returned to the boat. Twenty years exploring the seas of Southeast Asia has transformed Monte from ocean neophyte to marine specialist. The former California pool swimmer is now a scuba and free diver, big wave surfer, and experienced channel swimmer. The intrepid ocean lover even feels comfortable swimming in the sea at night half the year when seasonal winds prohibit daytime training.

Aquatic Achievements

A champion age-group and high school swimmer, Monte retired from the sport at 18, choosing to focus on water polo at the University of California at Berkeley. Following a 10-year break from swimming he returned to competition at age 29. His two-year Master's swimming career resulted in more than a dozen national records, culminating with a Master's world record for the 400-meter individual medley at UCLA in 1991. Monte swims over a million meters a year (80-120 kilometers a month), training in the ocean and pools in Bali, California, and elsewhere. During his channel crossings Monte strictly obeys the rules of ocean swimming: no wetsuit, no fins, and no touching the support boat.

Personal History

Born in Fresno and raised in nearby Hanford, California (an agricultural and farming community in central California “with 50,000 people and 100,000 cows”, jokes Monte), in high school Monte was an honor student and All-American in swimming and water polo. He received a bachelor's degree in Social Science from U.C. Berkeley. A former private English instructor in Tokyo, Monte is single and speaks conversational Japanese. His three sisters and father, a retired general surgeon, live in California, Oregon, and Hawaii. Monte's interests include surfing, free diving, classical music, opera, and ballet, art history, film, nature, and sports.