I swam the Strait of Gibraltar! My first intercontinental swim, and my second of the Oceans’s Seven! The final time was 4hr9min30sec with a distance of 15.2km (9.44mi). I had a 12-day window and this was one of the last days we could go, the wind has been unfavorable for most of the past few days.
Originally, I was going to swim this solo. However, I ended up swimming it tandem with Attila Mányoki, a record-holding profesional swimmer from Hungary with an impresssive resume, including 5 other of the Ocean’s Seven completed. There were so few days with acceptable weather left in the season, it was beneficial for us to swim together so other swimmers in line could swim. We’d been introduced earlier in the week and had trained together for a few days. We’re roughly the same speed, so it worked out really well. Atilla is slightly faster than me, and I kept pace for pretty much the whole swim, I think he only had to slow down once. It was great to have somebody fast to pace.
The first two thirds of the swim were really smooth, there was not much in the way of wind or current. At one point I could have sworn I saw something dark flit across in front of me, and when I went to the boat to feed, they told me a pod of pilot whales was following us! I’m not sure if I actually saw a pilot whale or if it was my imagination, but for the sake of a better story, we’ll say I definitely saw the whale. Later on some dolphins followed us too. I didn’t get a great view of them since I was focusing on swimming, but I’m glad we as a group found some wildlife.
The last third of the swim there was some wind, and the temperature dropped a tad, but nothing too bad. I suspect it was still above 60ºF even at its coldest. Then, touching land at the end was a little rocky, I got a small scraope, but made it to land in one piece!
This swim, I brought two crew members, Chris and Vanessa. Chris was on the smaller boat handing out food, and Vanessa was on the bigger boat up front. They were great support, along with the Gibraltar Swimming Associatino (ACNEG) who staffed pilots for the swim.
Overall, a great swim! I think the biggest takeaway for me is that sometimes weather and wind don’t cooperate, so I’ll be much more prepared to wait around for a good day the next time a channel swim comes along.