During the first week of October I completed the annual SwimTheIsland event in Liguria, Italy.
The location of the swim was absolutely beautiful, and one of the best places to do an open water swim.
I was one of the 1050 people who had entered the 3.5k ‘classic swim’. There were also 800m, 1.8k, 6k, 7.8k and relay swims happening on the same day.
The 3.5k route started at the beach in Spotorno, carried on along the beach back to Bergeggi and then around the marine protected island of Berggegi, which is known for its underground caves and dive sites.
There was a good atmosphere before the race started, everyone was enjoying themselves and making the most of the good weather before we got into the water. After a very concise 20 minute safety briefing it was time to go!
We were let off in waves of 100 people, 5 minutes apart. Once I had managed to get out of the crowd as we entered the water, the swim out to the beach in Bergeggi was very enjoyable. The water was clear and warm, and in my opinion, a lot more inviting than lake swimming in the UK! There were lots of fish and coral, taking my mind off the fact that I had a long swim ahead.
The going got quite tough round the back of the island with currents and waves kicking in. At one point it felt as if I wasn’t moving at all. Luckily, my training with the Penguins stood me in good stead, and I was able to make it around the island. From there it was a nice gentle swim back into the beach and the cheering crowds that were waiting at the finish line.
I completed the swim in 1 hour and 13 minutes which was better than I was expecting.
After the swim I was able to soak up the atmosphere on the beach. The organisers put on a pasta party which was much needed to replace the energy used battling off the waves!
The event itself was extremely well organised, a safety boat was never more than five metres away, and there were people on hand to guide if you went off course. Apart from the excuse to catch the last sun of the summer, I would thoroughly recommend this race for anyone who is into open water swimming. It was definitely the most fun swim that I have completed, and the location was second to none.