Maltese Olympian and anti-pollution activist attempts Sicily-Malta crossing

Can Olympian Neil Agius swim the 100km Sicily-Malta channel non-stop? Get ready for this incredible 35-hour feat

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An incredible and extreme feat takes place on 25 June when Olympian and activist against sea pollution Neil Agius will be swimming from Sicily to Malta.

The swim will take a total of approximately 35 hours of non-stop swimming, covering 100 kilometres.

This open sea challenge will be the sixth longest open seawater swim ever recorded worldwide in the current neutral category in the Marathon Swimming Federation.

The man behind the challenge, Neil Agius, is known for his record: the first ever, non-stop swim around the Maltese Islands.

A personal goal, combined with his love for the sea, have been instrumental in setting up a ‘Wave of Change’ – a movement that highlights the problem of plastic pollution in our seas.

The aim of Wave of Change is to raise awareness and educate people, especially children, about the problem of sea plastic pollution. Agius believes that these extreme challenges will help create an even better stronger movement by building up enough awareness, to encourage youths to be the change and take action. Small changes can make a huge difference.

The swim will begin at 6am on 25 June, in Punta di Braccetto, Ragusa, in the southern coast of Sicily, and will end on 26 June at approximately 4pm, at St. Julian’s Pitch in Malta, which is Neil’s hometown swimming club.

Agius will be swimming for over 30 hours straight, without the possibility of resting or even touching a boat or floater of any kind. He will be accompanied by a full crew of professionals and friends sailing alongside him on three boats, to assist with any preparation, special nutrition and back-up, for any sort of emergency that may arise.

The 18-man crew joining him will include the Race Director and an Empire, to ensure that all rules are followed, doctors, handlers to assist with handling special liquid food and water, motivators to keep him focused and to monitor him, drivers and other team members to make sure that Agius remains safe throughout the swim.

Although the challenge is a non-stop swimming one, Agius must remain hydrated and must therefore stop every 30 minutes to eat, in order for him to have enough calories to keep going. He will swim throughout the night in pitch darkness but will have glow sticks, to make him visible to crew members, as well as any other boats in the vicinity.

Apart from the obvious threats one may come across in the open sea, such as sharks, jellyfish and bad weather conditions, Agius will also be battling a continuous mental challenge.

Arguably the most challenging part will be to maintain a healthy body and mind throughout the swim. The most common problems faced during similar challenges, are that swimmers suffer from dehydration, excessive sunburn and last but not least, salt water. The latter can become poisonous and in extreme cases, some long-distance open seawater swimmers even lost parts of delicate body tissues, such as the tongue, due to the long exposure.

Neil has been training rigorously for months and will take all the necessary precautions, yet his friends and family naturally remain concerned.

The amazing feat will be recorded and documented throughout and updates of Neil’s swim will be available on Wave of Change social media.

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