José Eduardo do Amaral Ferreira Completes First Two-way Travessia do Leme ao Pontal

José Eduardo do Amaral Ferreira Completes First Two-way Travessia do Leme ao Pontal

Courtesy of Adherbal de Oliveira, Travessia do Leme ao Pontal, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

On the morning of February 20th, 43-year-old José Eduardo do Amaral Ferreira completed the first double crossing of the Travessia do Leme ao Pontal while traversing from Leme to Pontal and back to Leme.

His success was the second attempt of the two-way Travessia do Leme ao Pontal. The first attempt had been made on October 29th 2019 by Catarina Porfírio who abandoned after 17 hours of swimming to severe pain in her right shoulder.

Adherbal de Oliveira explains, “José Ferreira has been preparing for the 72 km challenge for two years. With his trainer Samir Barel, specific night training sessions were held under different conditions in order to strengthen Ferreira’s physical and mental preparedness.

His attempt started on the night of February 18th at 11.15 pm. The climatic and sea conditions were good. The expectation was for a cloudy day with light winds in the northeast direction (upwind) that would become stronger in the afternoon with a southwest direction (favorable to the swim back to Leme). The water temperature was 26ºC with low-amplitude ripples, giving tranquility to all those responsible for supporting the swimmer.

With about 3 hours of swimming towards Pontal, Ferreira began to face a current running in the opposite direction with medium intensity. Due to the current, Ferreira was unable to progress as he had planned, raising serious concerns about the possibility of success. But, with a lot of determination and focus, Ferreira concluded the first stage in 16 hours. His time was much greater than what he and his team had planned which raised doubts about his ability to continue and complete the return trip to Leme.

After 10 minutes onshore where he listened to his trainer and ate without outside help, José Ferreira started his journey back to Leme Beach. During the return trip, he progressed well along the course and increased his stroke rate. His average speed, which was less than 3 km per hour on the outward leg, increased to more than 4 km per hour by the middle of his return leg. His obvious joy and the fact that he was not in pain gave comfort to everyone on his escort boat.

In addition to coach Samir Barel and his assistant Ana Carolina Morelli, José Ferreira was supported by his girlfriend Monique Castro, photographer Carol Casals, Leme to Pontal Swimming Association observers Adherbal de Oliveira and Ricardo Patrick and the pilots of the vessel Ladeia V, Manoel Luiz Fernandez and Max Pain Viglio. But the arrival of the night brought doubts to his escort team regarding his behavior due to the difficulties of obtaining reference points. But José Ferreira was not discouraged and remained strong and with a constant speed of 4 km per hour. It was fantastic.

With 26 hours of swimming, at 1:15 am in the morning of February 20th, the swimmer arrived at Copacabana Beach, leaving a little more than 3 km to complete the unprecedented challenge to finish on Leme beach. At precisely 1:47 am on February 20th, José Ferreira arrived on the shore at Leme beach after 26 hours 32 minutes, becoming the first swimmer to complete the two-way at Travessia do Leme ao Pontal.

His wonderful achievement that demonstrates the human being’s capacity to constantly overcome all limits.”

With a 16-hour first leg and a 10 hour 32 minute second leg, José Ferreira may have completed the greatest second-half negative split differential in two-way marathon swimming history,” pondered Steven Munatones about the unprecedented two-way Travessia do Leme ao Pontal, a 24-Hour Club achievement.

José Eduardo do Amaral Ferreira (on left) with Adherbal de Oliveira after first two-way Travessia do Leme ao Pontal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 26 hours 32 minutes.

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Steven Munatones