The Elephant in the Room

When you talk to triathletes they usually remind you of how cheap swimming is, when compared to running and especially cycling. The only tools you need are a swimsuit, a cap and some goggles, and you are all set. This is especially true for purist marathon swimmers, who don’t use wetsuits. 
However, traveling around the world to do races in different bodies of water is far from inexpensive. Worse yet, tackling the world’s most famous Channel Swims has become a very lucrative business for some – and a reason to go broke for others. With green lights being weather-dependent, and so many swimmers asking for the opportunity to do these crossings and have their minute of fame within the OWS world, waitlists are growing to 2-3 years, and some organizers do not even bother to answer emails or calls. This has sparked some debate lately, about the need for having ratifying associations at all. 
In most of the popular crossings, a single association manages the swim. In some others (EC, NC, po…

Siete Continentes - El Libro [Español]

Han sido tres meses interesantes, trabajando en varios proyectos. Por fin conseguí terminar de escribir mi primer libro, Siete Continentes: Valores deportivos, profesionales y humanos forjados alrededor del mundo. Este consiste en un recopilatorio de mis aventuras en los siete continentes durante 2018, más el reciente Campeonato del Mundo en el Ártico. Cada travesía es comparada con una situación similar que he tenido en mi vida personal o profesional, para poder sacar ciertas conclusiones y lecciones muy valiosas para el lector, independientemente de su formación e intereses. Prólogo (por Steven Muñatones, fundador de WOWSA)Prefacio 1: Toma riesgos, el éxito está fuera de tu zona de confort.Prefacio 2: Sueña en grande, y no pares hasta conseguirlo.Siete Continentes: Desarrolla tu marca personal y vuela solo.1. Oceanía: El fracaso como parte del éxito.2. África: Aprende a convivir con tiburones.3. Sudamérica: Sigue tu propio camino y objetivos.4. Europa: No dejes que ninguna medusa te…

Continents Seven - The Book [English]

It has been three interesting months, working on various projects. I have finally managed to finish writing my first book, Continents Seven: Values for sports, business and life learned throughout the world. This is a summary of my 2018 adventures in the Seven Continents, plus the recent World Championships in the Arctic. Every swim is compared to a similar situation I have faced in my professional or personal life, in order to draw a number of conclusions and lessons very valuable to the reader, regardless of his / her background.  Foreword (by Steven Munatones, founder of WOWSA)PrefaceTake risks, success lies beyond your comfort zone.Dream big, and don’t stop until you make it.Continents Seven: Develop your personal brand and fly solo.1. Oceania: Failure as a part of success.2. Africa: Learn to live with sharks.3. South America: Follow your own path and goals.4. Europe: Don’t let any jellyfish stop you.5. North America: Stop trying to see in the dark.6. Asia: Find your passion and p…

Oceans Grand Slam

What do you do after finishing a huge project? You think about your next one and make it even bigger.

Since completing the Continents Seven, and more recently, the Ice Swimming World Championship, I've been mulling about a new project that would build on the achievements so far, and yet, would be something nobody has done and recognized as one of, if not the most difficult challenge in the open waters ever. I could not come with anything that would fit better than the OCEANS GRAND SLAM.

According to WOWSA, "the Oceans GS is an Open Water Swimming solo challenge to complete the Oceans Seven (i.e. the 7 most challenging channels around the world), in addition to completing a 1 km swim anywhere within the Arctic Circle and the Antarctic Circle in the Southern Ocean. The Oceans GS is OWS' equivalent of Mountaineering's Explorers Grand Slam". To put in perspective:
15 people have swum the Oceans Seven (link).23 people have swum an Ice KM in Antarctica (link).66 people …

ICE - That's all (for now) Folks

Two weeks ago I swam the Ice KM (1,000 meters freestyle in waters of 0 degrees with no wetsuit) in the World Championships / Arctic Cup in Murmansk, Russia, and I concluded the Ice Swimming season 2018/19, with quite a number of achievements:

- (Nov'18) Ice KM in Antarctica (first race ever in the 7th Continent): 3rd position overall - video.
- (Feb'19) Memphre Winter Festival: 3rd position in the 200 Free (longest distance offered) - video.
- (Mar'19) Ice KM in the Arctic (World Championships): 11th overall and 1st 35-39M, with the best time to date for a Spaniard - or American (14'23'') - video.

The low of the season was the failed attempt to complete an Ice Mile in New York City. Conditions were actually great, with a sunny day, almost no wind and waters just around 4C in Brighton Beach. However, I felt some current push against me and didn't want to push too much a week before Russia, so I decided to abort it. It is all part of the experience, and I am …

Let's go back into the ICE

It is again that time of the year when the winter Gods have been blowing and spitting hard, and the water in the Northern Hemisphere is enough cold for nobody to even think about touching it with the toe. Except for the superhuman ice swimmers out there.
I’ve had a bit of a break since I finished the Ice KM in Antarctica last November. I can’t believe it’s actually been three months without a single race or big swim, either marathon or ice swimming. But it’s now over, as I prepare for my next big goal: the 3rd Ice Swimming World Championship in Murmansk, Russia, next March 14-17. 

I will again be building up, using the Memphremagog Winter Festival in Vermont to get back to the ICE. With the absence of the USWSA Championships this year, this weekend has become extremely popular in the Northeast, and there will be c.90 mad swimmers from all over America and more. It is very similar to Murmansk in the sense that it is a pool cut / dug out from a frozen lake, and there could be gusting w…

Masters of the Universe

“In order to be a good Marathon Swimmer, you need to be a capable Masters Swimmer.”
I had always been reluctant to join a Masters Swimming team. Back in the Canary Islands when we were kids, we used to laugh at them, saying something along the lines – “if you are not good enough to make it to the Nationals, you should retire” (ah, youngsters). Then I moved to Madrid and I joined the “Canal Isabel II” team (now defunct), given that I had swum with some of the guys before. But when you are starting to work in the financial sector in Spain and you leave the office at 8pm you get nasty looks at you, so I didn’t last much in the team. 
Fast forward a couple of years, when I discovered the Open Waters in Hong Kong in 2012. The guys used to train in the pool during the week in order to race in the beach on the weekends, but I was really bored of pools at that point, and preferred to run instead, in preparation of my marathon. I liked open waters and I was good at it, and I did notice that sw…