Swimming from Europe to Africa
An employee of TraceParts crosses the Straits of Gibraltar
Amberg, September 30, 2008 – For years, swimming long distances has been a hobby of Christian’s, who works at TraceParts as a project manager. He has already completed 40 long distance competitions, of which 20 were in the ocean. The individual distances that he had previously covered had amounted to two, five and ten kilometers.
Early this year, he faced an extreme challenge with one of his swimming partners: traversing the Straits of Gibraltar. About twenty kilometers of open sea, where the European and African continents are separated from each other. Only two Germans had previously mastered this stretch since 1928.
To adequately prepare for this distance, he scheduled a weekly training allotment of up to 30 kilometers at the beginning of the year. Christian therefore completed more than 600 kilometers in the water during the preparatory period alone.
On July 13, 2008, the date had arrived. Due to the constantly worsening weather conditions, the start date had to be set two days earlier than planned.
Setting out in Europe near Gibraltar, Christian and his swimming partner jumped into the chilly 18 degree waters accompanied by a guide boat. At that point they were not sure where they would set foot on African ground, because this essentially depends on the predominant currents.
During such an undertaking, a constant self-motivation is crucial, since the temptation to quit and just hold on to the accompanying boat continues to grow with the distance covered. The external circumstances of such a crossing are also precarious. Warm and cold masses of water come together in the narrow straits and generate strong winds. It is also important to keep an eye on the heavy ship traffic. Additionally, the danger of coming in contact with various ocean inhabitants is more than 90%.
The fact that nothing is predictable about such an adventurous project, compared to the training conditions in a swimming pool or a lake, was shown when his swimming partner had to quit about halfway into the stretch because the high waves made him seasick.
The will to persevere by the TraceParts employee was thus put to a hard test: “From that point on I was swimming for everyone, for my family, for friends, for Germany, for TraceParts”, says Christian, whose strength was diminishing as the water continued to get colder.
After five hours, 32 minutes and 19.5 swum kilometers, Christian arrived in one piece but exhausted on the African coast in Morocco.
His efforts were rewarded by the certificate of the Gibraltar Swimming Association, which authenticates that he is one of the few who has mastered this athletic challenge.
Christian is hereby the third German fellow, second Bavarian and first Upper Palatinate resident who succeeded in this incredible athletic achievement.
The entire TraceParts team expresses its warmest congratulations and is eagerly awaiting the next challenge, the Belt crossing, a crossing from Germany to Denmark in the Baltic Sea with a length of 25 km, which is planned for August 2009.