Monday, November 9, 2009

23K Dialog Across The Seas

Channel Swimming Association president Michael Read went with England's Stephen Brearey (English Channel 2009), Scotland's Jane McCormick (English Channel 2005), Portugal's Miguel Arrobas (English Channel 2008) and India's Aditya Raut (English Channel 2009) to Tunisia between October 4-11 in support of the Dialog Across the Seas Project.

The Dialog Across the Seas Project is a joint project between the Channel Swimming Association and the Tunisian authorities in order to create deeper relationships between the United Kingdom and the Maghreb countries of North Africa.

The Project's plan is to organize annual competitions in each country between their national swimmers and swimmers who have successfully swum the English Channel. This first event was a race in Tunisia which would be a model of inter-cultural partnership and an initial stepping stone for swimmers from Tunisia to take before ultimately attempting the English Channel. The Project's other aims include raising the awareness of the need to safeguard the environment, promoting drug-free sports, promoting humanitarian actions in support of handicapped people and foster sustainable development and dialogue between civilizations.

The swim from the Kerkennah Islands to Sfax, Tunisia on October 7th, was the culmination of three years of hard work by Colonel N jib Belhedi to commemorate the first swim along this route in 1993 by the trophy's namesake. Nine swimmers, including five from the Tunisian National Swim Team, were accompanied by a naval unit, a Tunisian National Army helicopter, 3 Coastguard boats, 2 divers and the vessel Golla.

Ismail Dergaa won the men's race in 4 hours 27 minutes with Haykel Abid in second (4:30), Miguel Arrobas in third (4:41), Abir Arbi in fourth (5:02) and Stephen Brearey in sixth (6:04). Kaouther Khalfaoui won the women's race in five hours with Ghada Cherif in second (5:01) and Jane McCormick in third (5:21).