But as she graduated from the "mommy and me" classes at her local pool in San Carlos into competitive swimming in elementary and middle school, she discovered she had a different talent. Long after her teammates had tired, More could keep going — and going, and going, and going.
"I wasn't born with anything," she asserted. "I'm no different than any other swimmer. It's just the fact that I can keep swimming forever that kind of sets me apart."
At 16, this Menlo School senior now holds too many long-distance swimming records to count.
It began in earnest at age 11. Her swim coach wanted to try the 1.5-mile swim to Alcatraz from San Francisco before she got married, and asked if anyone on the team would do it with her.
"No one else wanted to do it," More said. "So I was like, 'I'll take it as a challenge.'"
From there, More began conquering marathon swimming milestones in waves. Open water swims in Sweden, South Africa, and Chile. The 6-mile trip from the Golden Gate to the Bay Bridge, which she became the youngest girl to complete. The 8.7-mile Thames "Bridge to Bridge" in England, the 12-mile "Wharf to Wharf to Wharf" in Monterey Bay, the 13-mile journey around Angel Island — youngest, youngest, and youngest.
Then, last year, More made the 21.3-mile swim across Lake Tahoe. Paired with her previous swims of the Santa Barbara and Catalina channels, this made her the youngest person by far to complete the California Triple Crown of marathon swimming.
Now, she's set her sights on the world. After her successful 28-mile swim around Manhattan Island (her longest yet) on Aug. 17, the only thing between More and the World Triple Crown is the 25-mile English Channel. And she plans to tackle that later this year.
But all this is just the beginning. The crowns, the world titles — believe it or not, those are short-term goals.
What is the long game? How about solving global warming, fixing juvenile recidivism, and raising $1 million to combat child poverty?
In the wake of her Alcatraz swim, More says, she started getting major attention. Numerous media outlets wanted to interview her, from local publications to a newspaper in India to CNN, NBC and Fox and Friends. A PR firm wanted to represent her. One day at school, a friend told her that her younger sister saw her as an idol.
"It's always been just a weird feeling for me," More said. "It's crazy to think how many people know about me. It's strange."
But More didn't shy away from the spotlight. Instead, she saw a powerful opportunity to redirect it. "I wanted to move the lens onto something important — something bigger than myself," she said.
She already had some idea what that could be. When More was born, her parents started sponsoring an Indian girl named Supriya through Children's International, a charity dedicated to combating child poverty around the world. More says she "grew up with" Supriya, exchanging letters and pictures from their parallel childhoods on opposite sides of the globe.
"So I thought, 'what better to do than raise money for that organization?'" she said.
If she was going to do that, though, she didn't want "child poverty" to be an amorphous idea in the back of her mind. So the summer after the Alcatraz swim, she went to Guatemala to visit one of the communities where Children's International provides aid. The experience, More says, was eye-opening.
"I think before, I never really understood," she said. "Like, I always thought kids in poverty were just thinking about their next meal, but actually, they're just like me and my friends. They have dreams, they have goals."
What they didn't have were resources and opportunities. "It didn't feel fair to me that [these kids] didn't have the same things I did," said More. "I wanted to use the awareness I was able to give to people [to show them] the fact that it's just not fair."
In the five years since, More hasn't just raised awareness. She's raised nearly $60,000 for Children's International—mostly from donors who sponsor her swims on the website children.org, but also through her own fundraising events. Last year, for instance, she organized "Escape from Alcatraz to Escape from Poverty," in which dozens of fellow Bay Area high schoolers raised $8,000 by making More's original swim.
The money has gone mainly to the Children's International emergency fund, which provides a buffer for supported kids whose sponsorship is suddenly pulled. Recently, however, More decided to home in on a more specific area: education.
"I'm going into college, and I know how important college is," More asserted. "I think [education] is one of the biggest ways that kids can escape the cycle of poverty."
Angel's Hope, a campaign More launched in July, aims to give this opportunity to 5,000 underprivileged children around the world. The target, $1 million, is undeniably ambitious. But after two months, she's already $16,000 in.
Child poverty isn't More's only area of focus, either. When it comes to solving the world's biggest problems, she has no shortage of ideas. After all, she says, being alone in the ocean for up to 16 hours at a time gives her plenty of space to think.
"I think swimming has definitely given me a lot creativity-wise," said More. "[It] gives me a great outlet for thinking about whatever I want to think about. I always think of new ideas — I'm like, 'oh, how can we solve that problem?'"
One of the problems More ponders is prison recidivism. In her sophomore year, she visited San Quentin Prison for one of her classes, and ended up returning the following year. There, she once again witnessed something that wasn't fair: people much like her who had far harder lives due to circumstances beyond their control.
"The biggest takeaway I got from San Quentin was that the people in prison, when they were kids, were in and out of 'juvie' as well," More explained, referring to the juvenile justice system. "They weren't ever introduced to a life without gangs, violence, and drugs."
One day, More hopes to take this immense challenge into her own hands. "Of course, it's a very big aspiration," she said, "but I really want to make a nonprofit helping kids who are either in juvie or out of juvie [do something] similar to me — using their own passions to do something good in their community. That way, they'll feel like they can support the community, and the community can support them back. It'll give them skills they can use in other jobs, and allow them to support themselves and their families."
This idea is in line with More's current interests. When she heads to college next year — hopefully somewhere on the East Coast, she says — she plans to major in business and minor in nonprofit organization. She also intends to minor in environment and sustainability, another global crisis she's chosen to focus on.
"Climate change is something I'm continuously thinking about," she said. "I think it seems very daunting, like, 'wow, this is such a big problem, and it's affecting the whole world.'"
That hasn't stopped her from taking action. She's attended climate marches in San Francisco and posted about them on her blog, angelmoreblog.weebly.com, which sometimes gets hundreds of viewers a day. She's working with a fellow Menlo School student to organize an "eco week" at their school, in which they'd bring in local climate leaders to speak about sustainability.
But most significantly, she's dived into an area of the climate question that many others have overlooked: fashion. Because of consumers' constant desire to "get the latest thing," More asserted, the clothing industry has become the second-biggest emitter of carbon dioxide.
"The consumer mindset is 'buy something and throw it away.' You make the T-shirt, the person wears it maybe three or four times, and then they throw it away," More said. "Another thing is that companies, when they don't sell enough clothes, they burn them [instead of donating], because they don't want to have them given away so easily."
Again, More has devised a clever entrepreneurial solution. In one of her classes last year, she made an alternative fabric out of biodegradable kombucha. "It's entirely compostable. You can even eat it," she said. "Maybe [I'll eventually] start my own company where I can sell it."
But all this, of course, is years down the road. Before More can save the world, she still has to graduate from high school, apply to college, and swim the English Channel — a feat that certainly won't be trivial.
"It's a difficult swim because of the distance, and it's pretty cold, choppy conditions," she explained. "There (are) boats, shipping channels — very strict rules of where you can start and where you can land. It's all around a logistically hard swim."
But More was born for this. She knows how to pace herself. She knows how to set the goalposts far in the distance, chart a course, and just keep swimming.
She knows how to play the long game. And that's what she intends to do — in swimming and in life.
"Whenever I see something that isn't fair, or needs to be changed, I always try to [do something]," said More. "I feel like if I have the opportunities, the resources — if I can, why wouldn't I?"
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