Neil Agius is already aiming to break his own world record for the longest distance ocean swim days after obtaining it – but it won’t be for a couple of years at least.
In his first press conference since the herculean feat, the jubilant and humble ultra-endurance athlete hinted at plans to tackle the record-breaking swim again – but not before tackling other challenges first.
“I will attempt to break this record again,” he told Lovin Malta. “But maybe not next year. There are other categories and exciting stuff I have planned in my head.
Riding on an all-time high, Agius explained how sleep deprivation continues to be an issue two days after he finished his swim in Gozo, explaining how severe sunburns on his back keep him up at night.
“I’m feeling good. I haven’t been sleeping that much because my whole back, from my calves upwards, is sunburned really badly so when I move around at night I tend to wake up,” he said.
Although Agius continues to suffer days after his over 52-hour swim, the toughest moment throughout his journey came in the first nine hours, when strong currents and big waves sent him into a delusional state, resulting in hallucinations and a certain paranoia.
“It was putting a lot of strain on my shoulders within the first 20% of the swim, so I started to get worried,” he said. “My ankle started to hurt me and the nights became very tough with sleep deprivation and hallucinations coming in all very strong and very fast.”
Despite his practiced meditations, a dedicated crew by his side, and live music to help him power through, Agius succumbed to some incredibly vivid hallucinations throughout his swim.
@lovinmaltaofficialSwimming for over two straight days really can get as intense as you’d think 🤯 ##fyp ##malta ##linosa ##swim ##gozo ##lovinmalta ##neilagius ##waveofchange♬ original sound – Lovin Malta
He explained what he began to think he was seeing underwater.
“It was like Atlantis under the water,” he said. “There were people on sunbeds beneath me, people by the bar waving to me, people covering themselves in sand, but I was fully aware of where I was and what I was doing.”
Agius’ crew was made up of doctors, friends, navigators, musicians, motivators and his fiancée, Lara Vella, who proposed to him just minutes before he set off on his epic journey.
“We’ve been together for 10 years so it’s something we’ve been talking about a lot and I got a really strong feeling that this could be something he could be excited about, something that could help him during those difficult moments,” Vella told Lovin Malta.
@lovinmaltaofficialIt was a tough 52 hours for Neil Agius… but also for Lara Vella, who had just proposed to him moments before he left 👀 ##fyp ##malta ##lovinmalta♬ original sound – Lovin Malta
“It motivated me even more because it felt like we were doing it for us and not just myself and it was amazing,” Agius said.
The Maltese ultra-endurance athlete and world record holder faced many challenges throughout his swim, but giving up was never an option. By the time he arrived in Gozo late at night, hundreds of people gathered to cheer the living legend as he made his way to the shores of Xlendi Bay.
“I hadn’t stood up or felt the weight of my body in over two days,” Agius said about his final moments. “I was very disoriented and couldn’t hold myself up so it was quite tough.”
“I didn’t expect there to be so many people. The cheer in their voices was much stronger this time around and I felt their energy as well.”
After months of training and preparation, along with a last-minute hurdle, Agius has completed his historic swim. The athlete now turns his attention to different challenges along with aligning his environmental initiative, Wave Of Change, with his future feats.
“This is just the beginning of the story. There’s still a long way to go,” he ended.
Over 50 hours and 125km later, Neil Agius managed to complete the herculean feat of swimming from Linosa to Malta to claim a new world record for the longest distance ocean swim 🏊🏼👏🏼
Posted by Lovin Malta on Wednesday, June 30, 2021
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