She should know. She has been setting records for hiking and swimming and has raised more than $58,000 for Children International along the way. At age 10, she became the youngest girl to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world.
“When I reached the top, I was 10 years and one day old,” she said. “I had my birthday on the mountain.”
Last year, More became the youngest person to complete the California Triple Crown of marathon swimming, a series of three open-water solo marathon swims. She swam the Santa Barbara Channel, a 12-mile swim between Anacapa and the California mainland. Then she swam the Catalina Channel, a 20-mile swim between Santa Catalina Island and Rancho Palos Verdes that took her 14.5 hours. Finally, in August 2018, she swam the length of Lake Tahoe, a 21.3-mile swim that took her 15 hours to complete.
More has been swimming since she was 2, and at age 11, completed her first open swim: a 1.5-mile, 40-minute swim from Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay back to shore.
“I wasn’t fast, but I could swim forever,” she said.
Since then, she has swum the route more than 50 times, in as little as 28 minutes. Last year, she organized a “Escape from Alcatraz to Escape from Poverty” swim around Alcatrez that raised more than $8,000 for Children International. She is planning a similar group swim this summer to raise more money.
“Swimming has been my passion,” she said. “I’m so blessed to be able to use swimming to make good in the world.”
More shared her story with youth from Central High, Hall High, eStem, and Parkview High schools on her recent visit to UA Little Rock Children International, where she encouraged the teens to use their own passion to accomplish good.
“She talked to the youth about her desire to give back and make a difference with what you can do. They were very sad when she left and exchanged contact information to keep in touch,” said Stephanie Jones, volunteer coordinator at UA Little Rock Children International. “Being around her and our youth together gives me hope for the future and where today’s teens will lead us tomorrow.”
UA Little Rock Children International is a partnership between the university and the Kansas City, Missouri-based Children International, a humanitarian organization focused on helping children break the cycle of poverty. UA Little Rock Children International, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, partners with schools in the Little Rock School District to serve youth in central and southwest Little Rock. It is the only U.S. site. Other sites are located in Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Mexico, Philippines, and Zambia.
More’s entire family, including her dad, Hemant, and mom, Archana, who run a financial software company, and 11-year-old younger sister Amber, are all adventure enthusiasts. Hemant More has a goal of visiting every country in the world and has visited 93 so far.
The family has climbed Aconcaqua in Argentina, the highest peak in South America, and two years ago, they drove 11,000 km across 16 countries in Europe. During their international travels, More has swam the Vansbrosimningen, a 3K open swim in Sweden; the MidMar Mile in South Africa, which is one of the world’s largest open swim events; and she tried a five-mile swim in the English Channel. She hopes to one day swim the entire English Channel.
“I know that one will be hard because the currents are unpredictable and windy,” she said.
During a 2014 trip to Guatemala, More visited Children International, where children were using chip bag wrappers to make wallets, which they sold to make money. Angel’s family sponsors two brothers served by the program, and the family had a chance to visit with the boys and their family.
“With Children International, you can meet the kids, and it’s very transparent,” she said. “They have a youth council, and they do work in their own community to make it better. They have good ideas.”
The More family sponsors two children in Zambia, four girls in India, where Angel’s dad is from; and a girl in Honduras. Sponsorships support the four pillars of Children International’s mission: helping kids become healthy, educated, empowered through programming, and eventually, employed.
It was during that trip that Angel decided she would work toward raising money for the organization.
“The money I raise goes to programs and emergency funds,” she said.
More has three big swims coming up this summer, including a 14-mile swim in Estero Bay near Monterey, California; a 26-mile swim across Monterey Bay; and a 28-mile swim around Manhattan Island.
For the past year and a half, she has worked with a marathon swim coach, and she also has a mentor who accompanies her in a boat or kayak. During her swims, she has seen whales, dolphins, sea lions, and jellyfish – but fortunately, no sharks.
Neither More’s father, who does not swim, or her mother ride in the boat.
“It’s better that way, so they don’t worry,” she said.
Top right photo: Marathon swimmer Angel More visits youth at UA Little Rock Children International on April 5, 2019. Photo by Benjamin Krain.
Top center: Angel More jumps into the water beneath the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California.
Top right: Angel More swims across Lake Tahoe as a member of her team follows alongside her in a kayak.