DNOWS Header

Image Map

Monday, May 14, 2018

Swimming From The Sun To The Moon

Courtesy of Diego López Dominguez, Lago Titicaca, La Paz, Bolivia.

Diego López completed the third leg of his Continents Seven in South America by swimming 7.5 km 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.

"I thought that [swimming] less than 8 km is small feat when compared to the 34 km of the English Channel or the 48 km Manhattan loop. Make no mistake: swimming at 12,500 feet (3,811 meters) high is no joke.

I probably had one of the toughest races in my life
," explained the Spanish open water swimmer from the Canary Islands.

With his tough global travel schedule, López just arrived in Copacabana, Bolivia two days before the race - not enough for high-altitude swim adaptation. "My 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 trusted my training."

He went for a short swim before race day and found the 13°C (55°F) water temperature tolerable.

"We started from Island of Sun and found myself competing with a large number of young locals who did not struggle with the high altitude.

But they also were wearing wetsuits to fight the [cold 13°C] water. Cold temps is - or should - not a problem for me anymore, but it was very clear from the beginning that I could not keep my usual cruising speed (60 strokes per minute) for long. In fact, I had to change my feeding plan that I had in mind from 1 hour to 45 minutes after the start and my stroke rate dropped to 52. I had to breathe almost on every stroke. I thought that there would be barely any chop on the lake, but there were actually some small waves that did not help with the breathing intake

López's planned breaks every 45 minutes were further changed to every 30 minutes and then his stops every 30 minutes were further shortened to 15. "I didn’t want food or water, but I needed to stop to allow more oxygen into my lungs. The problem with constant stops is that I wasn’t warming up and that the cold started to get into my bones which was very frustrating. I was actually in a very bad mood, but luckily my best companion was there again on the boat, ready to encourage me and to 'take me to the Moon'. Finally, the rocks [near the finish] started to look bigger and I could spot the tiny, yellow finish line. As soon as I touched, I was quickly taken to the mother ship, where I was given oxygen and warm clothes and tea. I could not believe the pain was over."

Normally a very competitive swimmer, López admitted that he didn't think of anybody else or his position relative to other swimmers during the race. "As a point of reference, only three weeks ago I had covered the 7.5 km that separates Robben Island from Cape Town in 1 hour 44 minutes in similar conditions than those of Saturday: 13°C water with medium surface chop. But this race [Nadando Cerca del Cielo] took me 35 minutes more to complete in Titicaca because of the altitude and constant stops. The 2 hour 19 minute swim still made me the fastest swimmer in the skins division, the fastest in my age group and the fifth overall male. And the first Spaniard to complete the feat."

Titicaca is part of the Still Water Eight along with Loch Ness, Windemere, Lake Zürich, Lake Tahoe, Lake Baikal, Lake Taupo and Lake Ontario, but there is something really magical about this lake that you feel as soon as you step a foot into Copacabana. What Cancún’s El Cruce in Mexico is for the Aztecs, Titicaca’s Nadando Cerca del Cielo {Swimming Near Heaven] is for the Incas, and I am so glad I have now done both.

More importantly, I have 'conquered' South America with the certainty of having faced one of the continents’ toughest swims, which is exactly the spirit of the Continents Seven. And with an eye on eliminating plastic contamination, I am happy to report plastics were non-existent in the lake.

To sum up the swim, Nadando Cerca del Cielo was a beautiful but challenging swim which I recommend to any hard-core marathon swimmer.

Cesar Vargas of Club Tiburones de Cochabamba finished first in the neoprene division in 1 hour 54 minutes 15 seconds. Camila Mercado of La Paz Tennis Club won the women's neoprene division in 2 hours 0 minutes 37 seconds.

Men's Results:
1. Cesar Vargas 1:54:15
2. Raul Ulunque 2:06:01
3. Cristoffer Mariscal 2:07:18
4. Yusef Mariscal 2:09:39
5. Diego López 2:19:23
6. Oscar Chavez 2:35:12
7. Marco Martinez 2:36:05
8. Yulio Marza 2:42:37
9. Rodrigo Aguilar 3:40:17
10. Rodrigo Rojas 3:47:07
11. Javier Villarroel 3:48:31
12. Ruben Chalco 3:52:14

Women's Results:
1. Camila Mercado 2:00:37
2. Cecilia Gonzales 2:13:07
3. Leyla Manjon 2:20:07
4. Giovanna Saavedra 2:51:22
5. Dania Choque 3:07:51

For more information on López's Continents Seven, visit here.

For more information on the XI versión del Torneo Internacional de Aguas Abiertas: ISLA DEL SOL - ISLA DE LA LUNA, visit here.

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you very much for your interest in the world of open water swimming.

The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

A Thank You Gift from WOWSA

WOWSA is celebrating the
1-Year Anniversary of the monthly Open Water Swimming Magazine
by giving you a free copy of the anniversary issue.

Open Water Swimming Magazine Anniversary Issue
File Size: 13MB


Download the file to your computer, and then right-click to extract the magazine which is inside the zip folder. The magazine is in PDF format.

CLICK HERE to download your free copy now.

Open Water Swimming Magazine

Open Water Swimming Magazine

The Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.

WOWSA Member Benefits include 12 issues of the Open Water Swimming Magazine, the annual 276-page Open Water Swimming Almanac, a free listing in Sponsor My Swim, outstanding product discounts from FINIS, an entry in Openwaterpedia and more...

The Other Shore

The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.

2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac

An Almanac for Open Water Swimming

An almanac is essentially a body of knowledge which is so complete that it enables people in different fields to make predictions about the future of their respective industries.

This, for example, was the purpose of the traditional farmers almanacs. It enabled farmers to determine as accurately as possible which crops to plant for the greatest harvests in a given year.

But the farmers almanac was just one example among many.
There are, of course, many different kinds of almanacs.

In fact, there is even one for open water swimming...

Preview the Open Water Swimming Almanac:

The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.


Open Water Swimming Event Sanctioning

World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

Coaches Education Program