A Successful "Return of the Axe": The XII Vuelta al Hacho Open Water Swim Race in Spain

A Successful “Return of the Axe”: The XII Vuelta al Hacho Open Water Swim Race in Spain

The XII Vuelta al Hacho known as “The Return of the Axe” took place in Ceuta, Spain on July 1, 2023. A total of 270 swimmers took part in this event, with 215 participants coming from outside Ceuta.

It is a circular swimming crossing that starts from Fuente Caballos Beach, following a course that included the Foso San Felipe. After exiting through the mouth of the Foso, the swimmers had to navigate the complex Isleros de Santa Catalina section. They then continued past the Sirena de Punta Almina and El Desnarigado landmarks. Once this part of the race was completed, they continued along the Caballa coastline until reaching the finish line at Ribera Beach.

Hywel Davies, the first swimmer to reach the finish line, unintentionally missed a buoy at the entrance to Ribera, resulting in his disqualification from the Copa de España. Nevertheless, he clinched the title in the ‘Vuelta al Hacho’ with a time of 2 hours and 8 minutes. Ceuta native Nacho Gaitán finished second, just one minute behind the winner, while Dilan Martín secured the third position, completing the race in 2 hours and 13 minutes.

In the women’s category, Naira Gutiérrez emerged as a champion, completing the race in 2 hours and 32 minutes. Esperanza Navarro finished in second place, five minutes behind, followed by Rosana Cruickshank-Hull with a final time of 2 hours and 39 minutes.

The event was organized by the Asociación de Natación en Aguas Abiertas (Open Water Swimming Association) and the Comandancia General de Ceuta, who meticulously planned every detail. The sea conditions were perfect, with gentle Levante winds, minimal waves and no jellyfish this year. The participation of nearly 300 swimmers, especially considering the event’s inclusion in the Copa de España, showcased exceptional talent.

Photo Credit: .ceutaactualidad.com