View Full Version : Open Water Experiences Abroad

September 17th, 2004, 05:36 AM
I recently read a funny article by a USMS swimmer who did a couple of open water swims in the UK.

I'm orginally from Berkeley, CA, but have been living in Italy for 21+ years. This year I participated in 3KM in Riccione, 3KM and 5KM in Baratti, did a crossing of the Strait of Messina, and will participate in a 1 mile and a 2KM this weekend near Lerici (Cinque Terre area).

I've gotten so used to the Italian system (the races are usually organized by the National Swimming Federation "FIN", or "UISP" which would be more like the YMCA) that I fear I have no perspective left on the differences from the USA.

I'm looking forward to reading any of your stories. If you're coming to Italy for a race, let me know!

September 22nd, 2004, 05:38 AM
Hi! No one replied! So I will!

I had a fantastic weekend doing a race near Lerici this weekend. I live in Florence, so I picked up a friend from Rome at the train station at noon, and we headed out for Lerici (which is near La Spezia). This is the "Bay of the Poets" where the famous "Byron Crossing" is held every year.

It only took us an hour and a half to drive there, and amazingly we didn't get lost. We drove straight into the little coast town of San Terenzo where we found our friends Dugo (our host for the weekend) Bokko (who writes sometimes in this forum) and many others. The 1.5KM race was at 5pm on Saturday, so we registered paying 10 euros, then went up some stairs on the rocky hill to Dugo's house under the local castle where we parked our bags and put on our suits. More swimmers arrived, and by 5 there were about 160 ready to go on a little beach cove right under the castle. The starter had a megaphone, and all the sudden I heard him saying "5, 4, 3, 2, ONE!" and it was time to start! Oooops! I was way in the back, and we were all crowded together! I didn't want to be kicked or hit, so I slowed down a bit. The course took us first around a boat, then turned south along the coast where we had to head for a bouy. On that length I was able to free myself from the crowd. The beautiful coast was on my left, which was a bummer since I breath to the right, but this way I saw the Bay of the Poets, and decided I will definitely do "The Byron" (7+KM) next year. I took the turn tight around the bouy, and that way passed a lot of swimmers, coming in for the final tract, heading for the finish sign. I came in 57th overall, and 1st in my age category (40-44) in 26 minutes. Bokko was waiting for me (and his girlfriend!) at the finish, as were my friends Maori (place 1st overall!) Dugo and Bussola! We relaxed in the warm (!) water and watched the rest come in...

There was a buffet set up with sandwiches and drinks, so we imbibed as we waited for the awards ceremony. I won my first trophy ever, for my category! Other prizes were medals, bottles of wine and jars of the local pesto! So maybe it would have been better to come in 4th instead of 1st!

That evening we had a bbq at Dugo's house: steaks, pork ribs and sausages, all served with fresh vegetable sauces he made. Then we conked out on his couches.

Sunday morning we woke up to another beautiful day - had coffee and got ready for the 1 mile and 3KM races. I decided to rest on my laurels of the day before and watch the others swim - so I sat on the dock in my bkini, took in the sun and watched them come in.

Another buffet, more awards, then Dugo made us pasta with fresh tomato sauce!

Life is good when you're an open water swimmer!

Fotos Lerici Swim 18/19 Sept 2004 (http://it.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/thedugosparty/album?.dir=/8219)

September 23rd, 2004, 06:24 AM
Great story, great enthusiasm !!!

With great interest I have read about the Strait of Messina-Swim. It was very encouraging to read how two disabled people have had their dream fulfilled, a dream that most swimmers, handicapped or not, may never experience.

Living in Vienna I am a 6 hour car ride away from the Adriatic Sea. The closest point worth swimming is the island of Grado, near Trieste. Florence is somewhere in the middle between Sicily and Trieste. What I am aiming at:

The crossing of the Gulf of Triest, precisely, from Grado to the northernmost tip of the Istrian peninsular (called: Savudrija on Croatian territory). It is exactly 20.8 K across, as the crow flies (13 land miles). Piran, a Slovenian harbour a little north is located at the same distance from Grado, however I think it would be more fun to skip a country and go straight from Italy to Croatia. All it takes (at least for me as an Austrian) is a passport (considered to be valid until 5 years after expiration) to enter Croatia by sea, air or land. I think it shouldn't be more difficult for US-Citizens.

I started to bargain with a motor boat rental place in Grado and they said it would be OK to use one of their boats as support but they would preferably like to have a medical doctor go with me.

Understandably, every swimmer needs his own boat although it would be easy to keep up with me. I am doing between 2.5 and 3K/hour. We could still use the same support crew and you can always swim in circles around me, if You get bored :).

Seriously, it would be great if somebody else would discover the Golf of Triest as a great swim, which I definitely think it is: Nice water temp during the summer, no big boat traffic, relatively flat and calm with only little currents caused by tidal shifts. Sometimes jelly fish "spice up" the adventure, but nothing to worry about :D. I have swum the waters of Grado regularly, sometimes leaving the shore 3-4 Kilometers behind. It was always a pleasure.


September 24th, 2004, 03:00 AM
Hi Gerald!

Wow - what an idea! Italy to Croatia. I know a group of Italian swimmers who did Croatia - Italy (Rimini) last year as a relay. The swim was over 100KM and took almost 48 hours. They had a great time!

I'll post your proposal on the Italian Masters Forum and see if anyone's interested. There are enough crazy folks online there, let's just see!

By the way, the story of our Strait of Messina swim is on the Italian swimming site today at:

Stretti nello Stretto (http://www.nuoto.it/leggi.php?leggiID=5988)

It's in Italian.


david mcintyre
May 25th, 2010, 07:49 PM
Mary Lokken... My name is David McIntyre a 72 year old master swimmer from Gold Coast of Florida. my wife and I will be arriving in Firenze on Saturday, May 29,2010 for a two week visit staying at a rented "villa" two blocks for the Palazza Vecchio. I am an artist and this will be my third visit and am looking for a pool to work-out in ( hopefully with weights ). Would you please respond as I am not sure this e-mail will get through to you. My web-site is davidmcintyre.us and my e-mail address is david@davidmcintyre.us. Thank you in advance for your help.... David