Swimming in Antarctica – Do you have what it takes?

Last weekend I drove to Upstate NY to swim in a small lake, which gets cold way faster than the ocean down in the City. Water was at 50°F (or 10°C) and I tried to swim on my own on Saturday. I was feeling cold and miserable and I just managed to take a cold plunge before running back to the car and getting warm again. Johana looked at me and told me – “admit it, you are not an ice swimmer and the only reason you are swimming in Antarctica is because of your ambition and competitiveness”.
She was right, as she usually is, and this made me think again about the why and the how would a guy from the subtropical Canary Islands end up doing this. Next day I woke up determined, headed to the same lake and swim with a fellow cold swimmer for over 30 minutes. I could do it and just needed the push.

The chart below summarizes the hard and soft skills I think are required to be an ice swimmer:
Stubbornness: I have written about this before, and the only reason I have reached far in life is becau…

Consulate General of Spain in NY

I have for the last year given several interviews to regional, national and international press, in English, Spanish and French - you can check them in the depository here. I am not one to make a huge fuss out of it / them; however, the Consulate General of Spain in New York just published an interview they did to me a week ago (on their website in Spanish, here), and I am especially proud of this one, so I have translated it into English and left it here for the non-Spanish-speakers. Enjoy! --
Interview: Diego López, the Spanish record swimmer who works in finance in New York (10/26/2018) Diego López already holds several records and exploits as a swimmer. But before the end of 2018 he also wants to become the first Spaniard to swim in Antarctica and the first in the world to do so on all continents in the same year, which would entail a new World Record. He resides in New York, where he works in the financial sector.
In the last year, Diego López (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1981) has…

Passion, Persistence, Purpose

I have just returned from a very productive trip in Hong Kong. As you all know, I was facing the Clean Half Extreme Marathon Swim – or Continent #6, as part of my global quest, on Oct 6.
We landed on the same Saturday morning, after a 16-hour direct flight from New York (yes, in economy class), left the luggage at the hotel and headed to Stanley Main Beach, in the South of the Island, to attend the race briefing. The typhoon that lashed Hong Kong two weeks prior to that was still very visible, and it was a shame to see the damage that it had caused onshore. The water was better than expected though, and during the swim, I barely came across any debris – or jellyfish, yay!
This was a very special race to me – I acquired my love for open water swimming in Hong Kong in 2011 and completed the Clean Half in 2012 as my first ever Marathon (10K+) swim. This year I have surely trained the distance, so I wasn’t too concerned about the 15K course, but I just wanted to break my 4h12’ PB. I was …

The Million Meters’ Season

Yesterday I was crunching some numbers (yes, I am a consultant and we love Excel and PowerPoint) and realized that this week (i.e. in nine months) I will be reaching the mileage that I did for the whole of 2017, 857 km. I have done so using 30 sessions less; mainly due to the tough calendar of races I went through this summer. By the end of the year, I will have swum one million meters, 25% of them in the oceans, lakes and rivers of the seven continents.

As an Open Water and Ice Swimmer, I would love to have more access to Open Water and Ice – it just makes sense. And contrary to popular beliefs, New York City is a great place to find both. But we all run pretty busy schedules, and it is difficult to squeeze as much beach time as I would like. So, I swim 75% of my mileage indoors, with my Masters team. 
I know of some marathon swimmers that will look at this and think, “pfff 1 million ONLY”. I am a big advocate of quality training, and I’d rather do 4,000 intense and quality practice…

September Update - Two Continents Left (vlog)

Listen to the latest update on my Continents Seven, and on the two swims left:



The Triple Crown

It’s been three weeks since I finished my Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming (Swim Around Manhattan, English Channel and Catalina Channel), and is finally sinking in. 
Open Water Swimming is a funny sport. On the one hand, there is the professional annual circuit, regulated by FINA, and comprised of the Marathon World Series (8 races of 10K each), and of the UltraMarathon World Series (3 races of 57K, 32K, 25K). The “pros” are a rare breed, and for some reason the circuit is dominated by young Dutch, Italian, Brazilian and Argentinian swimmers, and there are no Americans or Australians in it. I have been told that the national federations do not pay and that athletes must cover their expenses from sponsors or from their own pocket – but I may be wrong.
On the other hand, there is the amateurs, the rest of the world, or how I like to call them, “ordinary people doing extraordinary things”. These are normally older people with full-time jobs, families and other obligations; who enjoy …

Catalina Channel report

After swimming around Manhattan in August 2017 and across the English Channel a month ago, I was just missing Catalina Channel to complete my Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming and I had picked the night of August 16 to tackle it.
Catalina is less known of a swim, that had only been crossed by 93 people by year 2000, and that became more popular only after swimmers started pursuing the Triple Crown. The first time I personally read about it was in Lynne Cox’s book, Swimming to Antarctica. Her account of how she, as a 14-year-old kid, crossed the Channel in 1971, is truly remarkable.
Fast forward a few years, and there is a number of peculiarities in which this swim is organized: Distance is roughly the same as the English Channel but the currents are less pushy sideways, so the line normally comes more straight and completion times are normally lower.Waters in SoCal are pretty constant and not as cold as in Dover. In fact, there have been a few crossings in January, the last one by D…