Muddied But Safe In the Orinoco River Swim

Muddied But Safe In the Orinoco River Swim

In San Felix, Venezuela, 805 swimmers started to cross the Orinoco River where it means the Caroni River in the 3.1K (1.9-mile), but only 520 reached the finish after fighting currents in one of the world’s largest rivers. In a credit to the diligence of the safety patrols and organizers, they 290 swimmers were pushed too far downstream and had to be picked up by boats.

The chocolate-colored waters of the Orinoco River, muddied by recent rains, crossed the darker coffee-colored waters of the Caroni as the fast turbulence caused problems for many.

Just getting across is a challenge,” said Rene Alvarez, a 41-year-old marine biologist who crossed for the fifth time. “I like it because it’s an event that’s never the same. This year the Orinoco was very, very strong and the Caroni was very gentle. Since it depends a lot on the current, there’s a lot of strategy involved.”

With 805 swimmers in the water and 290 individuals in need to assistance, this kind of professionalism in the open water by the race organization is a model for others.

To see a Associated Press slideshow of the event, go here.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones