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DOUBLE SWIMMING CROSSING OF TORONEOS GULF
JULY

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DOUBLE SWIMMING CROSSING OF TORONEOS GULF NIKITI-KALLITHEA-NIKITI

6-7.07.2012

We invite you to the Marathon swimming race:
DOUBLE SWIMMING CROSSING OF TORONEOS GULF, from the beginning of the central pier of Nikiti on Friday 6th July 2012 at 21:00pm with the intermediate station the Pallini hotel’s pier of Kallithea-Chalkidiki and final destination the central pier of Nikiti the next day 7th July.

The race will be done with the support of Sithonas (Civilizing Company of Nikiti’s youngsters).
Your presence will give us the incentive to terminate the race and your expectations will give me the power I need it to swim approximately 50Km.

Swimmer: Theodosis Matopoulos
Coach: Panayiotis Sioutas
Support team: Charisis Tzanavaras, Antonis Antoniadis, Markos Chatzinakos, Simos Simeonidis, Alexandros Sioutas
Representative of Sithonas: Ntina Koura

The meeting point will be the central pier on Friday 6th July 2012 at 19:00pm and after the race on 07th July at restaurant ‘’MARINA’’.


ARTICLE OF NEWSPAPER ETHNOS FOR DOUBLE SWIMMING CROSSING OF TORONEOS GULF
JULY

AMATEUR SWIMMER SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED

HIS SWIM ACROSS TORONEOS BAY


17 ½ hours ‘battling the waves’ …

34-year old Th. Matopoulos dived into the sea at Nikiti Beach on Sithonia peninsula at 21:15 hours on Friday and reached the opposite shore at dawn the following morning and without getting out of the water at all headed straight back, finishing off at the starting point at 14:30 hours.


34-year old Th. Matopoulos well pleased with his achievement, after coming out of the water

50 km of uninterrupted swimming or around 24,000 continuous strokes in the water for almost 17 ½ hours is a performance that inspires awe, all the more when it was all done by an amateur swimmer.
The 34-year old businessman Theodosis Matopoulos made a bet with himself and decided to test the limits of human endurance to see if he could swim from Halkidiki’s second leg to the first and back again ‘in one go’, making his crossing of Toroneos Bay in the company of a dolphin, some flocks of sardines and countless jellyfish.

Starting at 21:15 hours on Friday night from Nikiti beach on the Sithonia peninsula, the swimmer was fully aware of how difficult the venture was. It was not just the endurance of his muscles and lungs that would be vital to his success, but also other factors such as the salt water, sun, the cold night water, his food and water requirements, tiredness, climate conditions, and marine mammals and the other sea creatures he would encounter.


During the night-time stretch of the swim, the swimmer wore a phosphorescent bracelet around his arms and lights on his trunks to ensure he was visible

He had personal experience of the swim from 2006, when he had taken part in the one-way swim across Toroneos Bay, the international 25 km swimming marathon held for the last 42 years by the Nikiti Young People’s Cultural Association ‘Sithon’.

His trainer and coach was Panagiotis Sioutas who has won many medals in the swimming marathon. Panagiotis had been preparing him for a year before the specific attempt. He set off in the company of a boat that carried his coach on board along with the chairman of the Sithon Association, Dina Koura, who confirmed that this was a valid race that met the specifications.
During the night-time stretch of the swim, he wore a phosphorescent bracelet around his arms and lights on his trunks to ensure he was visible.





PREPARATIONS, STOPS AND PROBLEMS

Swimming with the dolphins

The conditions were ideal with warm water and hardly any waves, which encouraged him to cross the 25 km in the first half of the route very quickly. “Go slower” called the coach constantly from the near-by boat, worried that the athlete would lose his strength if he didn’t slow his pace a bit.
“I had the meteorological forecasts, that talked about a worsening in the weather after 2 pm on Saturday afternoon and I wanted to get finished,” Th. Matopoulos told the Ethnos newspaper. Every 20 minutes I took a break to drink some water and fluids with electrolytes, while every hour I had a protein solution.
The athlete arrived at the shore opposite just after 5 in the morning, in Kallithea on Cassandra, and touched the seabed with his foot after 8 hours of swimming. 3 hours and 10 minutes ahead of his time in 2006.
He stood there without coming out of the water for as long as it took him to cover himself with sun cream and immediately started the journey back to Nikiti. A pain in his left shoulder was treated with a soluble painkiller. At first light though the ‘surprises’ had already started. Around half way along the route he ran into tens of jellyfish, luckily without being stung by any of them, and a short while thereafter he called to his coach that he could see lots of little fish.
“There was a flock of sardines trying to get away from the predator. There was a dolphin coming from behind, that appeared in front of the swimmer and swam with him for a short distance, without the swimmer seeing it and getting scared. I told him afterwards,” the athlete’s coach P. Sioutas told the Ethnos newspaper.

FINISHING LINE

“I won the bet I had with myself”

Th. Matopoulos was nearly out of steam but did not give up the struggle, and with his mind focused on his wife and two kids who were waiting for him on the other side.
He finished a few minutes before 14:30 hours on Saturday afternoon in Nikiti, where he was received by applauding crowds and crowned with an olive wreath, and welcomed by relatives, friends, associates in his photovoltaic business and tens of bathers. “When I started I estimated it would take me around 20 hours. I did it in 17 hours and 22 minutes. I won the bet I had with myself,” he told us.
The 42nd one-way international swimming race in Toroneos Bay will be held next Saturday 14 July and 28 swimmers will take part.
They include 68-year old veteran marathon swimmer, the so-called ‘king of the Channel’, British man Michael Peter Reed, and the Greek ‘king of Toroneos’, Th. Xanthopoulos who is taking part for the 39th time. He too has done the back-forward swim across the Bay.

Vasilis Ignatiadis




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