Gibraltar Strait Swimming Association’s Season is Underway with Impressive Open Water Swims

Gibraltar Strait Swimming Association’s Season is Underway with Impressive Open Water Swims

In a triumphant start to the 2023 swimming season across the Strait of Gibraltar, American swimmer Tesla Erin Profumo completed the challenging journey without a wetsuit.

Profumo, a 46-year-old from Michigan, braved the open waters with a light west wind on April 2nd to set off from Isla de las Palomas (Tarifa) at 08:59. After a grueling swim covering a total distance of 15.1 kilometers, she arrived at Punta Cires (Morocco) with an impressive total time of 3 hours and 43 minutes.

The Gibraltar Strait Swimming Association (ACNEG) reported that this year’s swimming season has already set the bar high, with an impressive number of athletes expected to participate in the different modalities available, including swimming with a wetsuit, without a wetsuit, and in groups.

The “Cousins”

On Monday, April 10th, a neoprene relay swim took place in the Strait of Gibraltar featuring a group of four swimmers known as the “Cousins”. The team consisted of three Australian swimmers: 65-year-old Marylou Lockwood (who wore a tube and glasses), 67-year-old Gina Cameron Harris, and 61-year-old Amander Jane Flaherty, as well as one swimmer from the United Kingdom, 46-year-old Danielle Benson.

The relay began at 1:40 p.m. with Amander Jane Flaherty taking on the first leg of the journey. Although Danielle Benson and Gina Cameron Harris withdrew during the tour, Amander Jane Flaherty and Marylou Lockwood led the relay to Morocco, covering a distance of 16.1 kilometers to Espigón Dalia in a time of 5 hours and 9 minutes. The swimmers had the added benefit of a beautiful day with light west wind.

Rachel Birkett & Karen Elizabeth Ennis

Rachel Birkett swam the Strait of Gibraltar without a wetsuit to celebrate her 50th birthday. Along with Karen Elizabeth Ennis, a three-time channel swimmer, Rachel completed the 16-kilometer swim to Dalia, Morocco in just 5 hours and 57 minutes, with favorable winds and currents but chilly water temperatures averaging 16.5 degrees Celsius.

Their swim was for a good cause, as they raised funds for International Needs UK, an organization that provides safe, clean water to communities in Africa. Rachel is now among the exclusive club of only 150 women who have swum across the Strait of Gibraltar since the first attempts were made in 1927.

Photos: Asociación de Cruce a Nado del Estrecho de Gibraltar (Facebook) and The Wayfarer, Parbold