Iancu Avram Swimming A Long Night Upstream

Iancu Avram Swimming A Long Night Upstream

Four years ago in September 2017, Romanian stage swimmer Iancu Avram became the first person to swim down the Danube River from springs to spill without a wetsuit. His longest stage swim took him 89 days from its source in the Black Forest to the Black Sea (“springs to spill” as described by Iancu.

The Danube is the second-longest river in Europe, after the Volga River in Russia. It flows through much of Central and Southeastern Europe, from the Black Forest into the Black Sea.

Many people have swim along its shores with the most notable three swimmers including:

* Imre Szénási from Hungary who swam 77 km in the Danube from Budapest to Dunaujvaros, Hungary in 13 hours 55 minutes in 1964.

* Martin Strel of Slovenia who swam 504.5 km in the Danube in 84 hours 10 minutes in 2001, recognized as the world’s longest non-stop open water swim at that time by Guinness World Records.

* 41-year-old Iancu Avram who completed a 89-day stage swim of 2,860 km along the Danube River from Donaueschingen in the Black Forest in Germany to Sulina on the Black Sea in Romania, crossing 10 countries and passing 4 capital cities without any fins or a wetsuit while swimming through dams, whirlpools, and eddies in unpredictable weather accompanied by two kayakers at the age of 41 in 2016.

SW!M, a documentary film by Sabin Dorohoi, featured Iancu’s exploit:

SW!M, a documentary film by Sabin Dorohoi

Iancu was looking for something different to do so he decided to swim upriver this September 8th, starting at 10:40 am and finishing at 5:10 am the following morning. “I realized what no one else did: swimming 26.35 km against the current for 18 hours 30 minutes in the Danube, my love.”

Escorted by Adrian Moscalu, Iancu started at the Iron Gates Dam 2 and finished at 891 km Danube Mile Stone. He explained, “The swim was observed by a mixed team of Romanian and Serbian observers. The main observer was the great Serbian swimmer Vojislav Mijić who himself swam twice in 24 hours and was nominated for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.

It was very very special, even if it was more demanding than ever and even if it was a race in a totally unknown course for me as well. Swimming against the current does not allow you a minute to relax. I am glad that I managed to finish this swim and that I was able to be a pioneer in swimming against the current in open water. It was the hardest night of my life, but I am extremely happy that I managed to record this new world premiere for Romania.”

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Steven Munatones