Lewis Pugh announced his upcoming expedition in the Southern Ocean near the Antarctic shoreline.
It will be an extraordinary feat. Pugh’s Five Swims in Antarctica for 1 Reason is a series of 5 ocean swims in the mind-boggling conditions of Antarctica. But the difficulties of his swim are not limited to swimming.
Obtaining the significant amount of financial support and organizing the logistics of such expeditions require an inordinate amount of work and planning…and a certain amount of emotional IQ and charisma to get everything done. Presentations and pleading with sponsors; selling and strategizing; negotiating and networking. The act of swimming is of course a challenge, but the heavy lifting and hard work without guarantees also come well before taking the first stroke.
Nejib Belhedi is another charismatic swimmer who pushes and pleads with governments and businesses to help support his swims and his concept of ouma (swim in the sea). And ultimately, he sees his swimming goals to fruition, even if it takes years of patient planning and sponsorship seeking.
The first 20 km swim across the Kerkennah – Sfax Channel was first accomplished by Belhedi in 1991. In order to attract attention to Kerkennah and take action to save this island from forever submerging under the sea, Belhedi will cross the channel again this month. He has pulled together quite a flotilla of sponsors and supporters.
His strategy is to swim on the spring tide where he will be aided by the Oued Ellouza tide, enabling him to pull a boat with swimmers in it. “It’s possible to attract media attention that Kerkennah Islands is on its way to disappear as well as Oued Ellouza. It’s possible that open water swimming can play an important role to heighten the awareness of the local, national and international communities to protect Kerkennah before it will be so late and to preserve its marine wildlife. We can definitively preserve the ecosystem today for the future generations tomorrow. This is why I swim.”
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