Starts And Finishes In The Strait of Messina

Starts And Finishes In The Strait of Messina

This week, The Daily News of Open Water Swimming will describe the slight differences between the start and finish rules of marathon swims around the world.

Today, we will look at the starts and finishes in Sicily, Italy. In Nino Fazio’s record-breaking Doppia Traversata dello Stretto di Messina (two-way crossing of the Strait of Messina), he is shown following the traditional start and finish rules (see here).

Swimmers can start in the water, but they must have their feet firmly on the sea floor. They raise both hand and then wait for the start signal from the Official Timers. “In this swim, I was doing some strange movements right before the start, but that was because I was completely surrounded by jellyfish,” explained Nino only half jokingly.

According to the local finish rules (see below around the 9’30” mark), swimmers touch the sea floor again, firmly standing up on their feet, and indicate their finish by raising both their hands. “In my two-way crossing, I arrived next to the rocks where I was able to stand up because the rocks were right on the beach. I reached for the rocks, but not because I had to touch the rocks to finish, but because it was the nearest place where I could plant my feet firmly on the sea floor and signal my finish.”

Similarly, in a two-way crossing in the Strait of Messina, swimmers do not have to clear the water as is the case in the English Channel and Catalina Channel, but they have to stand firmly on the sea floor and raise both hands to signify a crossing. After the Observer confirms that both hands have been raised while standing firmly on the sea floor, they can turn around and start on their return trip. Nino is shown at demonstrating the two-way turn-around here in this video. “The official time is recorded at the moment the swimmer’s feet are planted and both hands are raised above their head,” explained Nino.

Photo courtesy of Baiadigrotta.

Copyright © 2010 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones