XXII Travesia a Nado, Tabarca – Santa Pola

(XXII Open water swim, Tabarca – Santa Pola)

Sunday 9th July 2017

The more I visit Gran Alacant the more I am amazed at the diverse sporting opportunities made available to the public, whether it is ad-hoc running, biking, hiking, surfing, etc, the various sporting clubs or, the whole range of activities organised by the Town Hall of Santa Pola, with the support of the various sporting clubs in the area.

Sunday 9th July saw the 22nd hosting of the annual swim between Tabarca and Santa Pola which is now generally regarded as the best open water swim in Spain and one of the best 100 in the world. The crossing is 5900 metres as the crow flies from Tabarca to Varadero beach, but currents and wind mean the 1417 swimmers will swim a lot further. The winner of this year’s event was Haigor Aranguren Fuertes, who finished in 1 hour, 20 minutes and 30 seconds, having out sprinted another competitor in the last 100 metres. The first female to finish was Eliana Krist Sotelo Reynoso in an equally impressive time of 1 hour, 35 minutes and 22 seconds. One exhausted female competitor collapsed at the finish line and was taken away on a stretcher to the huge applause of the supporting crowd.

Of the 1417 competitors, not all of whom finished, but all are well, there were 12 other nationalities represented other than Spain; Russia, UAE, USA, France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Mexico, UK, Norway, Switzerland and Sweden. There were competitors from Gran Alacant, but numbers are not yet available.

Sunday started at 05.40 in Santa Pola with the collection of race numbers. Between 06.00-06.40 the swimmers were transported to Tabarca, followed at 06.50 by family and friends to watch them start. The race started at 07.30 with the first swimmers reaching Varadero within 1.5 hours. The presentation of prizes was at 11.30 on Varadero Beach.

They say, “Behind every great man is a great woman”, well the same is true for this event. Behind every great event is a great organisation, and the organisers of this event need special mention. These are not highly paid “events organisers”, but a bunch of unpaid volunteers, motivated solely on making this event one of the best in the country. I heard of some of the issues arising during the lead up to the event, one of which is worthy of an article in its own right, so agonisingly fraught with frustration and missed deadlines. That these volunteers persevered in the face of the problems is testament to their unflinching desire to make things work – for you. The Club Natacion Alone was supported by the Town Hall and a large number of sponsors to bring this event to Santa Pola. If you are interested in participating next year registrations open in February 2018, but be warned, the maximum number of participants is limited to 1400 swimmers and is always over subscribed. The race will take place in July 2018, so please go along and support the swimmers and organisers.

Geoff Young

Photography by Lou & Ged