Next up: Catalina Channel

Next Thursday, 8/16, I will be taken to Catalina Island, 21 miles to the West of California, and left alone at about 11pm PDT, to start swimming towards Long Beach throughout the night. It will be the third leg of my Triple Crown, the 5th swim of my Continents Seven, and the second of my Oceans Seven. If I finish it, I will become the first Canary Islander to do it, the first Spaniard to do it within one year time, and if I do a sub-9h swim, I will become a Top 10 Triple Crowners by elapsed time.
Enjoy the update video below, and follow the swim on

English Channel tales

It has been almost a month since my English Channel crossing on July 7 and I wanted to write about my experience before I face the Catalina Channel in another 12 days and mix them up in my mind.
I actually never thought I would swim the English Channel. But when I finished my swim around Manhattan in August 2017, I faced that well known post-race depression that affects many people after completing a big challenge. So I decided I’d fill that emptiness with the other two swims of the Triple Crown (the idea of the Continents Seven would come later in the year) and I booked my place for the Catalina Channel in August 2018 and the English Channel in August 2019, which is the earliest I could find.
At the beginning of this year, I heard that Masterpiece had a cancellation for July 2018. I was already training for cold waters and slot #4 sounded a bit risky, but I decided to call the odds. I kept taking down my swims around the world one by one – Haiti, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa…

Swimming beyond 10 hours

There are two kinds of swimmers: those that are capable, and keen, to swim beyond 10 hours, and those that are not. That was my conclusion yesterday, after completing the End North Dakota Watersports Endurance Test, aka END-WET, known for being the longest marathon swim in North America.
The swim goes 36 miles / 58 km downstream the Mighty Red River of the North, which divides the states of Minnesota and North Dakota in the USA. During the race briefing on Friday, I learned that given that the river dies in Lake Winnipeg in Canada, swimming downstream means going from South to North (yes, the Earth is round). Geography 1 – Diego 0. 
Unlike any other swim I’ve been, the 36 miles are clearly marked by number labels down from 36 to 1, on the side of the river (on the left shore, luckily for us left breathers) and also on the tracker online. This made it easier to follow, although it also made me more anxious at times: I kept looking for those darn hidden small white signs hoping to be d…

English Channel (video blog)

Quick update on my progress of the Continents Seven challenge, and on my European Challenge - the English Channel, from Dover (England) to Calais (France) at the beginning of July.



Swimming high – in the sky

Last Saturday I completed the third continent on my global journey – South America – by swimming the 7.5km from Isla del Sol (Island of Sun) to Isla de la Luna (Island of Moon) on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake. You may think (and so did I) that less than 8km is small feat when compared to the 34km+ English Channel or the 48km Manhattan loop. Make no mistake: swimming at 12,500 feet-high is no joke, and I probably had one of the toughest races in my life. 
This year’s tight schedule didn’t allow me many days of adaptation so we arrived in Copacabana, Bolivia only two days before the race. The headache disappeared after the first day thanks to numerous “mates de coca”, but just walking up the stairs in the hotel was a strenuous activity. I had never been in such a high altitude and the warnings of people like Lynne Cox, the first person to swim in the lake back in 1992 were clear, but I kept good spirits and trust on my training. I even went for…

This time for Africa

It’s been a month since we got back from Oceania and I’ve had a few busy weekends in the USA: I completed a 1km swim in the 4°C waters of New York (and qualified for Antarctica), I swam about 20km in the 14°C waters of California (more on that later) and I took part in a 12km race in the 24°C of Florida – a 20°C difference in waters!
Next Wednesday we will be heading to South Africa to tackle Continent #2. The Freedom Swim, considered the “Everest” to every open water swimmer in South Africa, covers the stretch of water from Robben Island to Cape Town. Distance is not excessive but lower water temperatures as well as abundant marine life (including great white sharks) make it a very challenging swim. It is also a very special year, as Nelson Mandela would have turned 100 years old. I still remember seeing him from afar during his last public appearance at the final match of the 2010 World Cup.

There will be about 60 of us facing the Channel next Saturday – half of us in skins, half o…

Road to Antarctica

How does an ordinary guy from the subtropical Canary Islands, who had never swum in waters colder than 18 degrees, become the US Winter Swimming champion in 100 and 200 Freestyle and qualify for the first ever 1 km swim competition in Antarctica with the world’s best ice swimmers? Just believing in it – and training hard for it.
When I started shaping the Continents Seven project at the end of last year, I knew I would have to speed up and become a “cold swimmer” rapidly. I started doing research on Ice and Winter Swimming, and the different bodies regulating this newish, extreme sport internationally. I did not fully understand the differences and boundaries between the International Ice Swimming Association (IISA) and the International Winter Swimming Association (IWSA) (I still don't), but I knew that the IISA was organizing a swim in Antarctica in November 2018 and I was quick to sign up for it.

I was the last swimmer to enter the 2018 batch and I had to show I could do so sa…