Swimjunkie El Nido fires off June 10

Swimjunkie Challenge, the Philippines’ only open-water swimming series, will return to El Nido, Palawan on June 10.

Unlike conventional swimming contests done in swimming pools, open water swimming were held in open oceans, lakes, and rivers.

Swimjunkie El Nido will feature 4-kilometer and 8-km races.

Swimjunkie founder Betsy Medalla said competitors from the United States, Spain, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong will see action in the annual race that also promotes protection of marine biodiversity.

Open-water swimming competitions were held in open oceans, lakes, and rivers. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

“If we can get people active, swimming and enjoying the outdoors, and at the same time supporting the incredible marine environments we have here in the Philippines, then we are all winning,” said Medalla, a former national swim team member, during a news conference on Wednesday at Toby’s Estate in Makati City.

Medalla said they will deploy 135 marshals in-water and afloat to ensure the safety of the participants. Drinking water and energy boosters will be available at pontoons situated every racecourse.

The first Asian to make the iconic cold-water swim crossing from Robben Island to Bloubergstrand in Cape Town, South Africa, Medalla said that she personally inspected every location to make sure it is safe and suitable for competition.

“I choose the course and test the waters a year before the competition. I swim a lot to identify the changes in current, waves, tides, weather as well the water temperature to make sure that the venue is safe for both the swimmers and the environment,” said Medalla.

Medalla explained that open-water swimming requires a different skill set compared to conventional swimming.

“You should reach the level of comfort when competing in the open-water. It is also a mental thing which can be developed through practice,” she said.

The 2018 edition of Swimjunkie Challenge kicked off last May 6 in Lobo, Batangas where 280 joined the 2.5km and 5km races along the Verde Island Passage.

Meanwhile, the flagship race of Swimjunkie Challenge will take place in Caramoan, Camarines Sur on August 19. The final leg will feature a 5km distant race and 10km marathon and team-relay.

The El Nido race is co-presented by Lio Tourism Estate. It is also supported by the local government unit, and backed by Seafood Island and Wilkins pure water.

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