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Antarctica – The recovery

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It’s been a week since returning from Antarctica, and most of the questions I am getting regarding the Ice KM race are around the recovery. Ice Swimming is still in early stages, and there is not much written on the recovery – worse yet, each swimmer is different and research does not necessarily help with one’s recovery. 
According to IISA’s rules and regulations, a “Second” is a person accompanying the Swimmer that watches him throughout the event, from the change room to recovery. I was lucky to have Leszek, a Polish experienced ice swimmer as Second, and before starting my swim, he asked me if he could record the recovery process with his GoPro.
These are not easy videos to watch, and there are some more dramatic scenes, but the 1-minute clip below can give an idea of what the body goes through after an ice swim. 

Viewer discretion advised

Before starting the swim, most of us raised our body temperature a degree or two, as a defense mechanism. So by the time we hit the -1.5C wate…

WE DID IT

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It is Day #11 aboard of RGS Resolute and we are coming home. The strong winds and waves of the Drake Passage cannot remove the smiles from our faces. 14 ice swimmers from all over the world came here to make history, and so have we. We are all over the moon.

It has not been easy. Antarctica is an unpredictable place and the swimming windows are very narrow. Seven swimmers were able to swim on Friday, Nov 23rd, and the other seven swam on Saturday, Nov 24th. Weather conditions including snow, winds, currents and chop varied among all four heats so results are very relative, and the important thing is that we all finished the Ice KM.

My heat had, in theory, the six strongest swimmers. 4-time Olympian Petar Stoychev and World Champion Victoria Mori were the favorites to win from the beginning, and they met the expectations. At about 2pm we each went into our zodiac and were ridden 1,000 meters away from the mothership. The snow was significant and there was ice all around the water, but …

Diary in Antarctica

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It is the end of Day #6 and this has been the most eventful one we’ve so far had in our Antarctica trip. This is not an ordinary journey and there is very little you can plan in advance. You are by now familiar with the reason of our trip to this remote location: to participate in the first ever Ice Swimming competition in the continent, among some of the world’s best ice swimmers, and to conclude in this way the Continents Seven project I have been pursuing throughout 2018.
Our ship was originally planned to depart from Ushuaia – Argentina on Nov 6, so that we could swim a week later, but some engine problems made us change the whole itinerary and we departed from Punta Arenas – Chile instead, on Nov 16. The race director and IISA president, Ram Barkai, was the third person to ever swim in Antarctica and the mind behind the race, certainly not an easy one to organize. Ice swimmers from South Africa (4), Argentina (2), Russia (2), Australia, Bulgaria, China, Italy, Poland and Spain, …

Swimming in Antarctica – Do you have what it takes?

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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

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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

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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

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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…