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David Yudovin’s Legacy In Indonesia

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Ajay Thakur, an open water swimmer from Mumbai, India, is planning to swim the 24 km (15-mile) Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra in Indonesia.

It was a swim that recent International Swimming Hall of Fame honouree David Yudovin did for the first time in 2000. “This channel may be the next great channel swim because it is so remote. Also because with water temperatures in the 26-29ºC range (78-84ºF), it is a very warm swim.

Yes, it is in a very remote location and offers culture and religious diversity. It was an extremely difficult swim for Beth and me to put together.”

Because his unprecedented success in 2000, Yudovin experienced one failure in 1997 and a waiting period for political unrest that continued for years. “Until I received a call that I waited for for a couple of years, it was not time to go back.”

Besides language differences and finding escort pilots with local expertise, there was a lot of planning to do. “In 1997, Outside Magazine wrote an article after learning of my attempt. They included it in a story on un-done great challenges in various sports on the planet. Doing a swim such as this in a deep Third World country also presents high risk in terms of medical services available. Illness from lack of sanitary standards and, in this case, potential civil unrest.”

The Sunda Strait is approximately similar distance to the Cook Strait in New Zealand and has very powerful currents and whirlpools due to various islands and sandbanks as well as myriad jellyfish.

Photo shows David and Beth Yudovin accepting recognition as an Honour Open Water Swimmer at the International Swimming Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on the Isle of Bute, Scotland.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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