Mexico, June 28, 2015
In three days I go to Spain and in six days my window will open to attempt to swim across the Strait of Gibraltar. Depending on weather conditions, I will make my attempts between July 3 and 9.
The question I am often asked these days is, am I ready? My answer is yes, when three critical factors come together:
Regardless of taking eight months to train—reason enough to be in relatively good condition—I know that I’ve completed about 97% of all my workouts. I have not been injured, when I have had to travel I was able to complete my training sessions and, if on one day I missed more than 500 meters of swimming, I made it up that week. Additionally, I have successfully completed three particularly complex workouts without any problem.
The first was the 100 x 100 m test, starting each lap every 1.42.5 min. Of the 100 reps, I did 80 without equipment (fins, paddles or pull buoy), something I had not done for many years. When I told Ivar Sisniega this, he asked if the pool actually measured 25 meters.
That put a doubt into my mind for almost a whole week, but I was finally able to confirm that my good result in the 80 100-meter-laps was not because the pool was shorter.
A 15 x 100 m test, departing every 1.40 min and ending at my aerobic threshold, strengthened my feeling that I was physically ready for the challenge. Finally, this week a series of 24 100-meter-laps, reducing my rest time, left no doubt.
I have never been to southern Spain. However, I read about the challenge of Gibraltar and talked with swimmers who have been there. Everyone agrees that the intensity of the wind is what is most likely to defeat a swimmer, as the distance is relatively short—less than 20 kilometers, according to the route—and the water temperature is above 20ºC.
I’ve seen several photos and today, while swimming in Las Estacas, I imagined what it would be like to be swimming against that. I felt the wind and I saw myself reach the other end.
There is a website—windguru.cz—where you can check the wind strength in different parts of the world. When you know you’re ready for your swim, you start to check it every day—in my case more than once a day—to see how the weather is during your window.
As of today, weather conditions look good for the days between 3 and 5 July. We’ll see how the situation plays out.
Physically and mentally, I’m ready. Now I just hope the wind cooperates…
The Strait of Gibraltar as seen from space. (North is to the left: The Iberian Peninsula is on the left and North Africa on the right).