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…

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…