Spectacular end to Open Water Swimming Season

Strong participation in annual Malta - (Gozo) - Malta  Open Water Swimming Competition registered.

Malta-Gozo-Malta Males winners
Malta-Gozo-Malta Males winners

The Open Water Swimming Season came to a thrilling end on Saturday 29th August, when Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club organised the highly awaited annual Malta-Gozo-Malta and Gozo-Malta Open Water Swimming Competition

Marfa Bay was a hive of activity in the early hours of Saturday morning, where Club officials and personnel took care of the final preparations before the start of the race which saw 10 swimmers undertake the 11km swim from Malta to Gozo and back to Malta by Comino, and 79 swimmers tackle the 5.5km stretch from Ras il-Qala in Gozo to Marfa.

Swimmers were greeted with overall favourable sea conditions, with a slight sea swell changing from force two to three at times. Some currents were experienced in the channel between Gozo and Comino, however it did little to hinder the swimmers’ efforts.

In the Malta - Gozo - Malta swim, current open water swimming champion Neil Agius took the honours, by covering the distance in 2 hours 37minutes 30 seconds. This is the second time that Agius undertook this distance, having won his first attempt four years ago.  Richard Zerafa claimed second place on the podium in a time of 2hours 55minutes 48 seconds followed by Gilbert Bartolo in a time of 3hours 59 seconds. Both Zerafa and Bartolo are no newcomers to the distance and both registered improved timings from the previous year’s performance. In the females category it was French swimmer Maryvonne Le Brun who clinched first place in 3hours 52minutes 49 seconds  followed by seasoned swimmer Sandra Schembri who completed the distance in 4hours 4 minutes and 7 seconds.

With regular participant and 2014 winner Neil Agius out of the Gozo-Malta foray, places on the podium were expected to be clinched by Luke Camilleri Cuschieri, Andrew Sultana and Roberto Demicoli who all performed well in the current season.  Camilleri Cuschieri won the race comfortably in a time of 1hour 15minutes 14seconds.  Under 17 swimmer Andrew Sultana finished in second place in 1hour 22 minutes 35 seconds and Roberto Demicoli, who this year opted to forego the Malta - Gozo - Malta swim, came in third place in 1 hours 23 minutes 11 seconds.

Gozo-Malta Female winners
Gozo-Malta Female winners

No surprises were expected in the females category and young Sarah Demicoli, female open water swimming champion 2015 did not disappoint.  Demicoli finished the 5.5km swim in a time of 1hour 20 minutes.  She was followed by Isabelle Zarb, a veteran on the scene who returned to the competition after a hiatus of four years. Zarb clocked in a time of 1 hour 32 minutes 47 seconds. Third place on the podium was taken up by Karen Zammit who finished the race in 1 hour 53 minutes 42 seconds, registering an improvement of twenty four minutes from the previous year.

A Prize Giving ceremony was held immediately after the Race in the presence of Mr. Raymond Grech, President of the Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club, Mr. Joe Caruana Curran, President of the Aquatic Sports Association of Malta and Mr. Henri Mattocks, General Manager of the Ramla Bay Resort.

“Our race has been ranked in the top 100 of the top 1,000 Open Water Swims in the World and this is a testament not only to the route that this race covers but also to the efforts that the Swimming section of the Club puts into such an event”, said Euchar Camilleri, Secretary General of the Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club. “We are grateful to all the authorities concerned for the support and assistance they give, not only to ensure the safety of our swimmers but also to provide a great racing experience”.

 

 

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