The grueling journey across the frigid waters of the English Channel has been deemed by seasoned endurance swimmers as the swimming equivalent of climbing Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak.
Like its mountain climbing counterpart, crossing the 21-mile (33 km) distance between the United Kingdom and France has also had its share of failed and even fatal attempts.
But the challenges and dangers of crossing the treacherous channel have not deterred lawyer and triathlete “Pinoy Aquaman” Ingemar Macarine from also attempting to cross it.
The Pinoy Aquaman who has been swimming to promote clean seas and Philippine tourism is set to swim from the UK side to France at 9:30 a.m. (2:30 a.m. UK time) on Sunday.
“While Mount Everest has already been summited by seven Filipinos, the iconic English Channel is yet to be crossed by a Filipino,” said Macarine.
With only regular trunks, goggles and a swimming cap on, he will be beset by water temperatures of about 17 degrees Celsius, a far cry from the temperate Philippine seas of about 30 degrees Celsius which Macarine is used to.
“The temeperature will be my number one challenge as I won’t be using a wet suit,” said Macarine in English and Cebuano in an interview with DYRD Balita.
According to Macarine, he is also wary of the large waves he expects to be encountering on his around 15-hour journey.
“The 33 km is just the straight distance from Dover to France. But when you cross that the normal distance reached by the swimmers is about 45 km because of the waves,” he added.
Although Macarine acknowledged the dangers of his attempt citing two deaths while crossing the English Channel in the past year, he is confident on his preparedness after years of rigorous training.
“I have trained and prepared for this ultimate swim for two years. I have done more than thirty charity swims in the Philippines and in the USA,” he said.
Macarine has also swam at length in waters off California, New York and Maryland in the past but he admitted that this will be his biggest challenge yet.
Based on records of Dover, a south England coastal town which will be Macarine’s starting point, 10 people have died in the past century while attempting to complete the open water swim.
The latest victim of the English Channel’s cold and harsh seas was Douglas Waymark, 44, who died halfway across the 21-mile distance just four days ago. (AD)