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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Swim Across Corinth Canal

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

In 2005, Hungarian marathon swimmer Attila Manyoki and his Greek swimming buddy Giannis Kotsiopoulos and two members of the Leandros Swim Club pioneerd the first 6 km crossing of the Corinth Canal.

"We were the first solo swimmers who completely swam across the Corinth Canal," explains Manyoki. "Kotsiopoupou was the organizer and one of the swimmers. All the Greek swimmers was engineers and I was the Hungarian representative. It was the centenary anniversary to open the channel. Hungarian engineers made it and that's why they wanted me to swim with them. After the swim, we left to the Hungarian engineers monument where the Hungarian ambassador and the president of the channel were also present."

By 2012, Apostolos Tsagarakis, a two-time Olympic swimmer, started the Masters Dream Camp as well as three different Lake and Open Water Swimming Trips in Epidavros and Loutraki, Greece.

These events were targeted at swimmers of any level or individuals who relish adventure in calm, beautiful settings.

These three swims in Epidavros and Loutraki offered open water swimmers from around Europe and various locations around the world a 3-day menu of options (see here): a lake swim in Vouliagmeni Lake, a gulf swim in Ancient Epidavros in the middle of the blue Saronic Gulf, and the open water swim near the ruins of the famous sanctuary of Hera.

The 3-night, 4-day camp showcased three swims of equal distance: 2.2 km. The first swim is in Vouliagmeni, a lake that is described as a region of rare natural beauty. On the second swim, swimmers traverse through the Corinth Canal (see photo above) and along the coast in the Corinthian Gulf. On the last swim, swimmers enjoyed a swim towards the ancient ruins of Heraʼs Temple near one of the oldest operational stone lighthouses on Cape of Heraion.

Now in 2017, the second annual Swim Across Corinth Canal is a 6 km open water swimming competition in Greece.

The Corinthian Isthmus is a narrow strip of land that connects mainland Greece with the Peloponnese while the canal that has been opened joins the Saronic Gulf with the Corinthian Bay. The canal crosses a straight line the Corinthian Isthmus in length 6,346 meters. The width is between 21.3 and 24.6 meters while the depth varies between 7.50 - 8 meters.

Swimmers have to navigate the prevailing sea currents that usually change direction every six hours. The usual flow runs at 2.5 knots and rarely exceed 3 knots. The narrowness of the canal limits each start heat to 50 swimmers. Heats start every 2 minutes with a maximum time limit of 4 hours.

The history of the canal is described here.

For more information on the event in September, see here and its Facebook page.

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