DOVER, United Kingdom (MindaNews/11 August) — Environmental lawyer and endurance swimmer Ingemar “Pinoy Aquaman” Macarine will test his swimming prowess when he attempts to cross the English Channel from the United Kingdom on Sunday (August 13).
Macarine met yesterday with his boat pilot Eric Hartley of Pathfinder Charter including his observer Keith Oiller of Channel Swimming Association (CSA) in Dover for the preparations of his longest swim yet.
The Surigao-born triathlete will attempt to cross the 21-mile (33.8 kilometers) distance with water temperature of 17 degree Celsius. His swim will kick off at Samphire Hoe Beach in Dover.
Hartley said the Sunday swim is still tentative depending on the weather conditions.
“Honestly, the weather here is unpredictable so we will wait for the right timing,” he said, adding he will do everything to make Macarine’s swim successful.
The 21-mile English Channel is considered the “Mount Everest” for open water swimmers from all around the world. Mount Everest has already been scaled by seven Filipinos, no Filipino has crossed the historic span.
“I have trained and prepared for this ultimate swim for two years. I have done more than Thirty charity swims in the Philippines and in the USA, fifteen of which were certified as pioneering or unprecedented marathon swims (10KM or more) by the World Open Water Swimming Association of Huntington, California,” Macarine said.
“I arrived here in Dover, United Kingdom two weeks ago for the water acclimatization training. Hypothermia would be my number one challenge as I am used to the tropical waters of the Philippines,” he said.
Macarine spent two hours of swimming every day in Folkestone but most of the time he practiced in Dover.
Last weekend, he swam for six hours in cold water to complete his certification swim for the Channel Swimming Association.
During the swim which is sanctioned by CSA Macarine will be wearing only a regular swimming trunk, a pair of swimming goggles, and one swimming cap.
“Wetsuits and other floating devices are absolutely not allowed. The rules also dictate that I should not touch the boat nor can be touched by another person during the entire course of the swim,” he said.
“I will be swimming continuously or nonstop for approximately 13 to 15 hours, except hydration and feeding stops for 15 seconds every 30 minutes, with water temperature of 17 degree Celsius,” he added.
Macarine told MindaNews that his physical condition since last Monday is in top shape.
“I could say my body has already adapt to the cold waters and I’ve been enjoying waters now,” he said.
Aside from swimming for two hours, he has been walking for at least an hour daily and getting 11-12 hours of sleep for recovery.
He has been eating mostly dairy products to nourish his body and gain more fats. A brother in Freemasonry based in Dover is preparing his meals. His favorite: tinolang manok (chicken soup).
On Friday, Macarine stopped his training and prepared for his swim.
Intrepid swimmers from different parts of the world have come here to challenge themselves in the waters. This year alone at least 400 swimmers will attempt the swim either solo or relay.
Macarine has been advocating for clean seas, marine environmental protection and climate change awareness.
Aside from the cold waters which he will endure, the Pinoy Aquaman has to survive the 33-kilometer distance which may stretch to 40 kilometers due to the current.
Macarine has never done 30 kilometers in his 33 open water swimming feats in the country and in the US. His longest personal record was on April 19 this year from Dumaguete City to Siquijor Island with a distance of 24.6 kilometers in 11 hours and 21 minutes.
He was supposed to cross the English Channel last year but returned to the country after he wasn’t allowed to swim due to bad weather.
In the past few days, several swimmers from other countries have canceled the English Channel swim because of unfavorable weather.
One of them is Australian endurance swimmer Melanie Holland from Sydney was supposed to do a relay swim with British endurance swimmer Heylay Zand last week.
English Channel has claimed the lives of some aspiring swimmers.
Last Monday a triathlete lost his life while attempting to cross it.
BBC reports said Douglas Waymark, 44, from Cheltenham, UK fell ill half-way across the Channel, 12 miles from Dover, Kent, and was airlifted to a hospital where he died last Monday evening.
Last year, Nick Thomas, 45, a swimmer from Ellesmere in Shropshire in United Kingdom died a mile from the French coast.
“This is the most difficult swim in the entire world,” claimed Kieth Oiller, an official observer from CSA for Macarine.
“I have been observing swimmers for seven years now and would say this is really the hardest for open water swimmers,” he said.
Macarine has been motivated by intrepid swimmers who have swum the English Channel.
“If they did it, why can’t I do the same,” he said.
He is inspired by young swimmers who did two-way crossings.
Macarine wakes up praying and listening to God whom he has asked to help him succeed.
His favorite verse in the Bible: Psalm 23.
“I Keep on praying every day especially every time I do the crossing and even to practice,” he said.
The swim is principally sponsored by South Seas Vision CATV System, supported by Philippine Sports Commission through Chair William Ramirez and Commissioner Ramon Fernandez, and the Commission on Elections through Chair Andres Bautista. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)