Adherbal de Oliveira, president of Leme Pontal Swimming Association, reported on the success of 50-year-old swimmer Siomara Vieira Nascimento who completed the 36 km Travessia do Leme ao Pontal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on October 1st.
On a rainy Sunday with storms due to a tropical cyclone that formed at sea, Siomara swam the course in 14 hours 9 minutes to become the oldest woman to swim from Leme to Pontal.
Siomara started at 3:11 am in the midst of massive sheets of rain and winds that made the sea rough. Despite the adverse external conditions, strong currents were favorable and pushed her along the course.
The first hours of swimming were tense and required a lot of determination from the swimmer and attention from her coach Glauco Rangel and friend Cristina Lopes da Silva.“
Before the swim, Siomara Vieira explained her story, “I always wanted to learn to swim, ever since I could remember, but my mother decided that dancing was more feminine. I had no choice and I practiced jazz for 7 years. My body structure is large and heavy. Result: at 21 years old, 2 herniated discs, and 6 months without walking.
A blessed doctor gave my parents two alternatives: operate or swim until the last day of my life. At that moment, I understood that I needed my family emancipation. If they had always listened to my request to swim, I wouldn’t have spent 6 months in bed. But everything is fine.
I entered the pool in my father’s arms and continued trying to move. I managed to get back upright in the water.
I saw other swimmers training and though, ‘I’m going to do this!’
When I started swimming, the goal was to do 1 km in the pool… I did it. And slowly, each day, I managed to swim a few more meters. But I swam without technique, yet I wanted to learn, and no one believed in me, because according to the experts, I was too old to be successful. From the age of 21 to 43 I looked for coaches who only judged me and didn’t help me until I met Glauco Rangel, my current coach. Glauco believed in me and made me really swim: me in the city of Manaus and Glauco in the city of São Paulo, about 3 thousand kilometers apart.”
At 5:21 pm, after fighting hard for hours up and down and laterally against the waves, winds while feeling cold, Siomara arrived on Pontal Beach and dramatically made one of the most exciting finishes in history. She was extremely tired, unable to stand up in the shallow waters. Pushed forward by a set of waves, she finally crawled out of the water into the waiting arms and affection of her support team and local admirers.
© 2023 Daily News of Open Water Swimming
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