Neil Agius, Malta's Marathon Man

Neil Agius, Malta’s Marathon Man

Courtesy of Wave of Change.

Slowly but surely, Neil Agius is swimming further and further, and making a greater and greater impact. This week, he outdid himself, swimming 126.3 km from Linosa, a tiny island in the Strait of Sicily in Italy, to Xlendi Bay, Gozo on Malta in over 52 hours – right after his girlfriend proposed to the 35-year-old Maltese Olympic swimmer.

Photo by Kurt Arrigo

After representing his country of Malta in the 400m freestyle at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, Agius completed a 38 km circumnavigation swim around Gozo in 10 hours in 2010. In 2018, he stepped up his game and completed a 70 km circumnavigation swim around Malta in 21 hours 52 minutes. In 2020, Agius completed a 100 km from Sicily to Malta swim in 28 hours 7 minutes. His swim was part of the Wave of Change movement which raises awareness about marine pollution and threats to marine habitats.

The environmental activist continues to go after even bigger challenges when he swam from Italy to Malta. It was a slight change from his original idea to swim from Tunisia in Africa to Sicily, Italy, a 153 km swim in July that he estimated may take up to 60 hours.

But he came close with a 52+ hour swim.

In support of Agius’ attempt, the Double The Wave Challenge has a goal to pick up 1 million pieces of plastic. Wave of Change has a dual goal: collect plastic rubbish from local areas, and encourage physical activity in people’s everyday lives.

Photo by Diana Iskander

Interested in becoming a #Wavemaker and creating a Wave of Change for Malta and Gozo and its beautiful surrounding waters? Participation includes 3 simple steps:

  • Pick up 6 pieces of plastic anytime, anyplace
  • Snap a photo showing your 6 pieces of plastic collected and tag #DoubletheWave
  • Nominate 6 other people to join in and let’s see the ripple effect of your helping hand

Agius says, “Since the start of the current global pandemic, we have seen an increased amount of waste littering our environment, particularly in our beaches and countryside. We need double the effort to get back on track. We are asking people to join in to help us reach this goal. Whether walking to the bus stop, on your daily jog or walking the dog, pick up 6 pieces of plastic and stop them from polluting our beloved waters. Don’t wait until you’re at the beach. Do it now. In your local neighborhood.”

For more information, visit and

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Steven Munatones