Nino Fazio Organizing Swims In The Strait Of Messina

Videos courtesy of Nino Fazio, Strait of Messina

Nino Fazio not only runs his global guitar business and serves as the Open Water Manager for the Italian Swimming Federation in Sicily where he organized two FIN and FINA races for the Italian Open Water Championships, he also organizes hundreds of non-competitive swims and group crossings of the Strait of Messina. “We we have so many official races in our region in this time of the year and I am involved in all of them.

These include the 2 km and 5 km Sicilian Open Water Championships in Giardini Naxos, near Taormina.

I also help organize the Strive Challenge Coastal Swim

This summer, 180 swimmers attempted the swim across the Strait of Messina. Fazio discusses their logistics. “Staying in Messina is their best choice. Our organisation is based in Messina and the briefings are in Sicily. All the boat people are from Sicily; the timers, doctors and ambulances are from Sicily. So, no matter where the swim starts from, our meeting is on the Sicilian side of the Strait of Messina. We’ll get on the escort boats in Sicily that will lead the swim to the start. So after the swim, we all get back to the same place where we have started from, all with the same boats.

The water is quite warm and there is no need for wetsuits.

Every swim attempt across the Strait is a joyful and demanding swim. No matter who they were, we have done our best to successfully help them to reach their goal. Our organisation is very simple, not the flashiest one, no fancy shirts, no fancy motorboats. We are quite spartan. It is just plain old fishing boats led by local boatmen. But we know what we do. There are always lots of boats, many boatmen, and everybody yelling at each other with Giovanni Arena, the pilot of the whole crossing, yelling louder than anybody else. They know what they are doing [because] the Strait is in international waters and is a very intensely trafficked area, so there are very rigid rules that the swimmers and boatmen must respect.

We welcome the swimmers and explain to them what they must do to comply with the rules issued by the Port Authorities, and describe how they must swim along with the boats for the 3.5 km distance from coast to coast and how to touch the land in order to be sure that their time is correctly recorded by the timers

Fazio and his Sicilian group understand a channel crossing is a very special event after leading hundreds of swimmers safety across the Strait. “We consider all the tandem swims and all the individual swimmers in the same way. They all have the same goal which is our goal as well: swimming to the other side. An actor, a tennis star, a businessman, a politician, a champion, and the unknown swimmer are all the same for us. Swimming is socially interesting. No matter who you are, you have to take off your clothes to do it and you all swim with your arms, legs and heart.”

First video shows Andrea Fazio setting a record across the Strait escorted by Giovanni Arena. Second video shows Gaia Nadini in a masters swimming race (Traversata dello Stretto) escorted by Giovanni and Paolo Arena. Third video shows Gaia Cautela and Asya Cautela completing the Traversata dello Stretto in 2009.

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