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WWS Coach Angela Andelson tells us from her own words her experience crossing the Strait of Bonifacio on June 19, 2019. She completed the swim alongside swimmer Liz Foster successfully in 4 hours 16 minutes.

Overall, the experience was great and I’m so glad I did it! What inspired me to sign up and train for the Bonifacio Channel was the 5 kids that are doing it this week. I never thought I’d be able to accomplish a swim like this, but when Leena and Vivek (Mitali and Anaya’s parents) told me last October that the kids were going to do this swim, I started to think that maybe I could do it too. I knew Liz through a mutual friend and when I asked her to swim with me, she was all in!  

As for training, Liz and I did most of our training in La Jolla Cove (San Diego) and with our masters club team in the pool. Liz and I also had stellar training partners - two of which are triple crown swimmers and others which have significant marathon open water experience. The advice we received from them was invaluable.

Personally, I’m very thankful that I was able to complete this swim because I’ve had a lot of setbacks in the past year. In 2018, I dislocated both of my shoulders (separate incidents) and was out of the water for a few months. I also had a bad arthritis flare up to the point where it hurt to walk and the pain lasted for about 6 months. As a result, I was not able to train much during this time. Finally, in January 2019, I was hospitalized for a few nights due to asthma, which resulted in more time out of the water. Despite all of that, I was able to adequately train for the Bonifacio Channel.

During the swim, the water was so blue and the temperature was great. I did get a little warm in the water, but there were some cold spots that felt amazing to swim through. During the last hour, my arms, back and legs were starting to get sore, but I was able to power through and finish without a problem. Liz did great! She’s a former college swimmer and she made this swim look easy. Towards the end, we sae a few jellyfish, but nothing like what we had experienced a few days prior during our training swim (there was one day where there were so many jellyfish!). Liz and I also had an amazing support team during the crossing. Coach Mike and Leena helped us with our feedings, took a bunch of pictures and were very encouraging. We are very very thankful for their support!

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The Bonifacio Channel swim performed by Anaya (13) and Mitali Khanzode (17), Saumitr Dikhit (15), Hana Lip (17) and Riley Lim (17) on June 27, 2019 was the culmination of 9 months of preparation that began in October of 2018.  From October through December of 2018, The 5 athletes took on a light training schedule to test their commitment to this venture.  The families and coaches wanted tot make sure the kids would be able to manage their time effectively enough to take on a 4-month training program that would coincide with the most difficult time in their school year. Satisfied that the the kids would be able to time manage, Water World Swim coaches Kathy Winkler, Jake Glodowski and Michael Lockwood designed a training program that would begin in Early March and continue, to June 26; one day prior to their event.

The official 4-month training program was multi-faceted.  The swimmers practiced open water feeding, swimming as a group, sighting, temperature acclimation, stroke technique as well as strength, and stamina building.  We were also fortunate to get practice dodging jellyfish in the waters off of Reina Bianca beach in the days leading up to their swim. The swimmers were physically and mentally prepared to face their challenge.  It is interesting to note that, while the swimmers worked flawlessly as a team during the 15K swim from Corsica to Reina Bianca in Sardinia, each swimmer faced and overcame their own personal struggles during the, approximately,  4 1/2 hours that they were in the water. Perhaps each swimmer can tell their own personal account of what they experienced in the water.  They will all know exactly what is meant when I say that Hana displayed true leadership.  Riley embodied devotion.  Anaya showed resilience.  Saumitr persevered and Mitali's strategic thinking kept our team's time under 5 hours despite a rough, head on ebb tide that was waiting for them at the last 3 kilometers.
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On April 1, 2019, Rob McGlashan became the second Canadian to swim across the Strait of Magellan which until then only 28 other people had done. The crossing is roughly 3.9-kilometres long through a strait famed for its strong winds, high waves and frigid waters. He completed the swim in just 1 hour and 6 minutes in cold waters between 5-6 degrees, wearing just his suit, swim cap and goggles. According to one of his support team members Julieta Núñez Gundlach, “Rob did great he didn’t even shake after he got out of the water!!!!! he looked like we was having fun!!”.

Rob is a strong focused athlete who worked hard to train for the conditions that he would encounter in the straits. To help with acclimation, he sat in a bathtub filled with ice for up to 60 minutes, and in preparation for this crossing Rob swam a kilometre in 0.9 degree Celsius in Lake Ontario at GLOW Beach in Ontario, Canada.

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Italian Tuscan-raised and WWS swimmer Gaia Naldini concludes this 36 km. crossing and promotes the fight against cancer in memory of the recently deceased mother: "It is a difficult period of my life, but it makes me happy and satisfied at home, because it made me more difficult than before leaving. I was not sure I was able to complete "

Original article from Swim4life Magazine (in italian)

Gaia was able yesterday to do an enormous task: to be able to complete the most beautiful and difficult trip in the world and at the same time promoting a fundraiser for the European Institute of Oncology of scientific studies and the fight against cancer.

Several times Italian champion, the Italian swimmer won the world title in Perth in 1998 in 25 km team and the European title in 1997. Actually as a master swimmer and coach hitting Genovese swimmers, Gaia completed the Capri - Naples solo and with one the time is not bad: 8h 59'20", especially considering that in the last part of the race he had to swim against the current.

The occasion was to make the reunion with his long-time coach from the national team Filippo Tassara and also with the support of coordinator Luciano Cotena, 43 years old completed the 36 kilometers journey.

The crossing was born from an initiative that is part of a series of activities sponsored by Water World Swim, in view of an even stronger partnership with the organizers of the Gulf Marathon, and supporting the fundraising program for the fight against cancer research, involving Gaia Naldini who accepted with great passion since it was a tribute to his mother Anna, recently deceased.

If I asked you to describe your experience in a few words, what would you say?
I'm a little tired as Forrest Gump used to say, but happy! It was a long but beautiful race, Capri - Naples is a dream for all the swimmers of Open Water Swimming, a dream that comes true.

Can you tell me what was yesterday for you? Let's start since you got up in the morning, what did you think, how did you feel?
The first thing I thought yesterday was that maybe I had exceeded a little beyond my means and that I wanted to do something bigger. Twenty years ago I was in the national team, which was up to 25 kilometers and never I've made such a long career like this.

How did you feel about the beginning of the approaching crossing?Very tense because in any competition I have never been to take things lightly, but I always say that the torment is the ecstasy and also the beauty of the competition.

How was the race in its various phases?
I had a game plan to not force my arm, so fortunately it was a very good race with the leaden sky as I like to compete, as it was very hot. It was very good for the race at sea with the ferries and container ships that sail near of you: I felt a strange feeling, almost unreal, as if I was swimming in a parallel world to the real. There were also dolphins in the final portion, but I could not see them personally. The last kilometers were really very exhausting, because we expected a Mistral wind following in order but it was not easy. Philip then cheated the missing kilometers and started me too early to the last tear, but I was prepared to face this kind of effort, I have not felt pain in the arm and finally I can say that it went well.

What did you experienced when you arrive?
Arriving to touch the arrival banner and listen to the siren on the finish line was a wonderful emotion. Then, in the Circolo Canottieri, they prepared a pleasant surprise because there were many people waiting for my arrival. To being a race in lonely, I did not expect that audience.

What thoughts did you have about this?
I'm glad I did this for the main purpose for which I did it, for my mother and also for me. I did a difficult thing before I left I was not sure I could finish. It's a difficult period of my life, but I'm back happy and satisfied at home.

To support the cause of Gaia Naldini visit the website dedicated to making donations by clicking here.

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Our Italian WWS athlete Gaia Naldini took second place in the 2018 version of the European Masters Championship held on September 8 and 9 in Lake Bled, Slovenia. The Genoese swimmer participated in the two days of competition and obtained the second place in the 3000 and 5000 meters swim, with times of 00:37:00 and 1:04:28 respectively.
"I finish my competition in Lake Bled with two good second places ... I could not do better in a lake, but in the sea it will be different! I thank the friends of always, with whom we are in all the seas and in all the lakes, with different results but an ever stronger friendship, even those who were friends 20 years ago and, when we see each other, for a moment it is as if time had not passed. "
Gaia supports Fondazzione IEO·CCM European Insitute of Oncology, a cancer-research organization, in honor of her mother Anna. You can donate here.

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