An Extraordinarily Powerful Film Of Adventure

An Extraordinarily Powerful Film Of Adventure

An Extraordinarily Powerful Film Of Adventure

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

It was the most dangerous and risky open water swim in history.

During the Bering Strait Swim from Cape Dezhnev in Chukotka, Russia, to Cape Prince of Wales in the state of Alaska, U.S.A. (via Big Diomede and Little Diomede Islands), there were only 3 media crews on board: one from Argentina, one from Russia, and one from South Africa.

This journey with 121 members over 6 days across 53 miles (86 km) in rough, cold seas was dramatically captured on film through the eyes of swimmer Matías Ola of Argentina and the art of filmmaker Ariel Calderon of Avanti Director on Film / Documentary World Merge. The trailer below shows the adventure and how its international group of swimmers who came together – with camaraderie and confusion, overcoming the cold and the challenges, dealing profoundly with the physical and emotional, both within themselves and with others.

Ola did his part in the near-freezing water including the time he got ill. Like everyone else, he faced his challenge – a reflection of everyone in the crew and in the water.

There were so many swimmers with different skill sets,” recalls Nuala Moore, one of the swimmers. “There were so many swimmers from different background: swimmers who were career solo swimmers who had to become part of a team; swimmers who had never been in waters like this and had to adapt; swimmers who were used to being the deciding factors in their own days; swimmers who had never been alone in the water who felt isolated. But no matter who, what, or whichever they all thought should be the best way, every single person compromised so many personal issues to make this work.”

The danger in the Bering Strait is so evident in the video. You can see it, you can feel it. “The moment Melissa [O’Reilly of the U.S.A.] got in the water, I closed my eyes and said a prayer, ‘We were in the game and this was the game.'”



The Bering Strait Swim had nearly everything and the mostest: the largest crew, the largest budget, the largest escort ship, the longest prep time, the greatest risk, the most coordination, and the most audacious vision.

The Bering Strait Swim’s daring concept was planted with the seeds of Lynne Cox’s success swim in 1987 when she swam from Little Diomede to Big Diomede.

The members of the Bering Strait Swim, recipients of the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year award, included the following people who faced large ocean swells, heavy fog, stiff winds, relentless whitecaps, currents, and water temperatures under 5ºC (41ºF):

SWIMMERS

1. Vladimir Chegorin, Russia
2. Maria Chizhova, Novosibirsk, Russia
3. Elena Guseva, Russia
4. Ram Barkai, Cape Town, South Africa
5. Jack Bright, UK
6. Oksana Veklich, Blagoveshchensk, Russia
7. Aleksandr Jakovlevs, Jelgava, Latvia (Starter, Swimmer, Navigator)
8. Matías Ola, Buenos Aires /Tucuman Argentina
9. Henri Kaarma, Tallinn, Estonia
10. Toomas Haggi, Tallinn, Estonia
11. Nuala Moore, Ireland
12. Anne Marie Ward, Donegal, Ireland
13. Toks Viviers, Cape Town, South Africa
14. Melissa O’Reilly (‘Mo’), Lambertville, New Jersey, USA
15. Ryan Stramrood, Cape Town, South Africa
16. Cristian Vergara, Santiago, Chile
17. Craig Lenning, Colorado, USA
18. Rafał Ziobro, Krakow, Poland
19. Andrew Chin, Cape Town, South Africa
20. Jackie Cobell, Tunbridge Wells, UK
21. James Pittar, Australia
22. Paolo Chiarino, Italy
23. Mariia Yrjö-Koskinen, Finland
24. Ivan Papulshenko, Ukraine
25. Zdenek Tlamicha, Czech Republic
26. Zhou Hanming, China
27. Oleg Adamov, Russia
28. Andrei Agarkov, Russia
29. Alekseev Semen, Russia
30. Tatiana Alexandrova, Russia
31. Roman Belan, Russia (Swimmer & Starter)
32. Elena Semenova, Russia
33. Alexander Brylin, Russia
34. Afanasii Diackovskii, Russia
35. Vladimir Nefatov, Russia (Swimmer and Chief Starter)
36. Evgenii Dokuchaev, Russia
37. Oleg Docuckaev, Russia (Swimmer and Chief Organiser)
38. Roman Efimov, Russia
39. Dmitrii Filitovich, Russia
40. Olga Filitovich, Russia (Swimmer & Starter/helper)
41. Victor Godlevskiy, Russia (Swimmer, Starter/helper)
42. Olga Golubeva, Russia
43. Alexei Golubkin, Russia
44. Alexander Golubkin, Russia (youngest swimmer at 13 years old)
45. Alexsandr Iurkov, Russia (Starter, swimmer, navigator)
46. Oleg Ivanov, Russia
47. Pavel Kabakov, Russia (Swimmer, starter, navigator)
48. Eduard Khodakovskiy, Russia
49. Aleksandr Komarov, Russia
50. Aleksandr Kuliapin, Russia
51. Andrey Kuzmin, Russia
52. Irina Lamkina, Russia
53. Vladimir Litvinov, Russia
54. Andrey Mikhalev, Russia
55. Victor Moskvin, Russia
56. Nikolay Petshak, Russia
57. Sergey Popov, Russia
58. Vladimir Poshivailov, Russia
59. Grigorii Prokopchuk, Russia
60. Dmitrii Zalka, Russia
61. Natalia Seraya, Russia
62. Viacheslav Shaposhnikov, Russia
63. Olga Sokolova, Russia
64. Andrei Sychev, Russia
65. Alexei Tabakov, Russia
66. Nataliia Usachaeva, Russia

CREW

67. Nikolay Khitrik, Russia (Organiser)
68. Lurii Melnikov, Russia (Organiser)
69. Sergei Chernukhin, Russia (Organiser)
70. Irina Makarova, Russia (Interpreter, Starter, helper)
71. Alexey Svistunov, Russia (President of Russian Book of Records)
72. Rafael Valdes Mendosa, Russian (Interpreter, Starter)
73. Evgeny Novazheev, Russia (kite surfer)
74. Denis Berezhnoy, Russia (kite surfer)
75. Sergey Semenov, Russia (kite surfer)
76. Mariia Netrebenko, Russia (mass media representative)
77. Viktor Muzhetckii, Russia (cameraman)
78. Vladislav Bochkovskii, Russia (mass media representative)
79. Vladislav Bykov, Russia (cameraman)
80. Dmitrii Timofeev, Russia (research team)
81. Victoria Brylin, Russia (recovery team)
82. Nataliya Fatyanova, Russia (Head of medical group)
83. Irina Zhidkova, Russia (doctor)
84. Aleksandr Gremitskikh, Russia (Chief Judge)
85. Krutikov Konstantin, Russia (mass media representative)
86. Gavriil Ugarov, Russia (research crew)
87. Denis Kabakov, Russia (support crew)
88. Kiriil Zaika, Russia (support crew)
89. Natalia Yael Szydlowski, Argentina (nutritionist)
90. Paolo Adolfo Testa, Argentina (coach)
91. Carlos Eduardo Reges, Argentina (doctor)
92. Anibal Ariel Calderon, Argentina (cameraman)
93. Guillermo Gallishaw, Argentina (cameraman)
94. Alasdair Ross McCulloch, South Africa (cameraman)

CREW OF IRTYSH HOSPITAL SHIP

95. Yason Demeev, Russia (Chief of Hospital)
96. Oleg Revutskiy, Russia (surgeon)
97. Vyacheslav Grigoryev, Russia (traumatologist)
98. Valeriy Koshkin, Russia (dermatologist)
99. Svetlana Gulenkova, Russia (stomatologist)
100. Inna Lesnova, Russia (therapeutist)
101. Vladimir Savinskiy, Russia (doctor of functional diagnostics)
102. Sergey Demyanenko, Russia (Doctor of Clinical Laboratory Diagnostics)
103. Sergey Milovanov, Russia (anesthesiologist)
104. Denis Yakushin, Russia (anesthesiologist)
105. Georgiy Feodoridi, Russia (neurosurgeon)
106. Igor Rogushin, Russia (opthamologist)
107. Yuriy Obraztsov, Russia (infectionist)
108. Oleg Fartushin, Russia (radiologist)
109. Elena Ionova, Russia (pharmacist)
110. Larisa Popova, Russia (nurse)
111. Svetlana Demenok, Russia (nurse)
112. Galina Domnina, Russia (nurse)
113. Tatyana Bolshakova, Russia (nurse)
114. Svetlana Panidova, Russia (nurse)
115. Maya Surgayeva, Russia (nurse)
116. Ludmila Denisova, Russia (nurse)
117. Valentina Shilova, Russia (nurse)
118. Elena Repula, Russia (nurse)
119. Elena Kukurba, Russia (nurse)
120. Elena Sadovaya, Russia (nurse)
121. Tatyana Nikolaeva, Russia (nurse)

As Nuala Moore remembers, “There were corridors of confusion on the ship. Everyone trying to figure out how far they could push risk-wise and the organisers who had never seen swimmers before, who voluntarily put themselves in this water.”

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