Nadadores de Ponta Negra Complete Travessia do Leme ao Pontal
The Ponta Negra Relay (Nadadores de Ponta Negra) that included 52-year-old Gilvan Guedes Bandeira and 51-year-old José Lindovaldo Marinho became the 18th relay to complete the 36 km Travessia do Leme ao Pontal, finishing in 12 hours 22 minutes on January 12th.
The duo finished the 36 km coastal marathon along the shores of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with escort pilots Manoel Fernandez and Max Paim Viglio and accompanied by Leme to Pontal Swimming Association observer José Eduardo Ferreira.
Adherbal de Oliveira reported, “The duo came from the northeast Brazil that is made up of humble people, but who with great determination obtained financial support from local traders in their cities and with friends from the different swimming groups in the city of Natal. Gilvan Guedes has a past of chemical dependency and lung and heart problems, but he found in sport the opportunity to improve the quality of his life with new eating and behavioral habits.
For Marinho, a pharmacy attendant in Natal, started open water swimming at the age of 35. When he decided to attempt the Travessia do Leme ao Pontal, it was the opportunity to travel by airplane for the first time and to visit Rio de Janeiro.
The swimmers’ preparation was carried out on Ponta Negra Beach and in the rivers of the region. Hydration during the crossing was unique. The swimmers hydrated with non-alcoholic mead (honey, lemon, water and salt) and used bread with egg and “canjicão” (corn, sugar, coconut, cinnamon, cloves, water and salt) to eat during the 36 km swim.
The swimmers overcame two difficult moments. The first was when they had to swim at night for the first time. Both experienced difficulties in maintaining a good pace due to the nervousness of swimming at night. Another difficulty was when the pair struggled to overcome counter currents at the 18 km mark.
They started at 1: 27 am at Praia do Leme on a night with light winds and southeast waves that helped them in the beginning. The coast of the city of Rio de Janeiro is well lit as they swam at night, enjoying the experience of swimming through the bioluminescence of plankton.
Towards the end, the swimmers were rewarded with a beautiful sunrise and a water temperature of 25ºC (77ºF) as they were welcomed at the finish on Praia do Pontal by friends and family.
The swimmers made history by becoming the first swimmers from the city of Natal to complete the Travessia do Leme ao Pontal.”
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