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…

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…