Dina Levačić – What A Year She Experienced
Dina Levačić completed two channel crossings this year: the Strait of Gibraltar and the North Channel. With an English Channel (2017), Catalina Channel (2017), Molokai Channel (2018), and Tsugaru Channel (2019) crossings also done, she is only one channel (Cook Strait) away from becoming the first Croatian swimmer to achieve the Oceans Seven.
The 26-year-old from Split is making Croatia proud.
On June 18th, she completed a 14.4 km crossing between Isla de Tarifa in Spain and Punta Cira in Morocco in 3 hours 13 minutes, the fastest overall crossing of the 2022 season for both men and women. She recalls her Strait of Gibraltar crossing, “Although the swim was demanding due to the waves, wind, currents and heavy maritime traffic, it was also fun and very stressful over the last 48 hours because until an hour before departure it was not known whether weather will permit me to swim.
But it ended in the best possible way. I crossed the Strait of Gibraltar in 3 hours 3 minutes, which is the second best women’s time and 11th overall and was the best time of the season for both men and women.”
I have never and will never be in a situation to go to the Olympic Games, win an Olympic medal or be in a situation where the national anthem is played in my honor.
She had attempted an earlier crossing of the North Channel, but was unsuccessful in 2020. But the 35 km channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland remained a dream for her. “It’s incredible what a person can truly endure, what can be imagined in our heads can become a miracle. When I am swimming (in the dark, with marine life, or in cold water), such moments can be decisive: success or failure. When we encounter pain or a crisis occurs in the water, there is this battle between what is in our head and what we feel in our body. A positive attitude always wins,” she explained.
She continued, “I know the North Channel is not Mount Everest, but it is at the top of the channel swimming world because of all the difficulties. For ten months, I prepared and trained exclusively in the sea during storms, in the driving rain, against strong winds, all winter, all spring and all summer. Finally on August 21st this year, I had the opportunity to fight (again) to realize my dream.
That day was a far from an ideal day for swimming, but the unsettled Irish weather prompted me to gamble on being the only swimmer in the North Channel that day. The organizer warned me that I was in for a few hours of very rough seas with the wind. But I was ready for the cold sea (14°C), strong currents, and clusters of large jellyfish.”
After 10 hours 26 minutes and 38,874 strokes, her dream became her reality. “I touched the Scottish coast and became the 104th person in the world and the first person from Croatia to swim across the North Channel. I am honored that my name and our flag are included in the list of incredible people who have conquered this channel before me, as well as those who are yet to conquer it.”
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