A three-day swim around Gozo by Neil Agius had to be cut short due to very cold water and the fear of hypothermia.
Aguis, who last year swam from Sicily to Malta and now plans to cross to Sicily from Tunisia later this month, planned three laps around Gozo in three days to warm up for his big swim.
The ultra-endurance swimmer skipped his scheduled 12-hour rest period between his second and third swims in order to avoid worsening weather as a storm approached Gozo. He then forfeited his break between his second and third laps around Gozo as well, racking up more than 40 hours of swimming.
“I was informed by my team that we would be facing force five winds at some point into my third lap”, Agius explained in a Facebook post. “To avoid this, we would need to forfeit my rest break and push through, racing against the wind”.
Just three hours into his third lap around Gozo, Agius’ body temperature started to seriously drop from the intense cold – forcing him to finish the swim early.
“I felt that I could have pushed myself for at least another four hours, but knowing that there were 10 hours left, I thought it best to stop and not risk getting hypothermia or injured before the big swim.”
Despite this, Agius remained optimistic at the success of his three-day swim – in which he spent just over 41 hours in the water, pushing through both rough weather and choppy seas.
Thanking both his team and “the swimmers who joined me halfway into the second lap for a few hours”, the swimmer greatly showed his gratitude to the support he has received from his time noting how they have all come together and learnt a lot for his big swim at the end of the month.
“Now it’s about putting my head down for the next four weeks to fine-tune and perfect all the little things to have a successful Tunisia – Sicily crossing”, Agius said, looking ahead towards his biggest swimming challenge yet.
His crossing across the Mediterranean will see Agius swim a total distance of 100 kilometres, through the night and practically equalling last year’s record-breaking Sicily-Malta swim.
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