The Team Behind Pablo Fernández Álvarez's 250K Ocean Swim

The Team Behind Pablo Fernández Álvarez’s 250K Ocean Swim

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Pablo Fernández Álvarez swam 250 km in 26 hours 36 minutes in a logistically-challenging current-assisted (current-positive) ocean swim in the Gulf Stream. Along the way, he completed the first 100 km in 11 hours 7 minutes, breaking his previous record of 12 hours 21 minutes set in 2019.

At 10 am on July 19th off the shore of Fort Lauderdale in southern Florida, he set off with his team. The conditions were nearly ideal for record-setting purposes as the winds were blowing steadily between 10-15 knots and the ocean waves stayed in the 1-3 foot range. The water temperature hovered between 28.8°C and 30°C.

He was escorted by boat captains Ed Haray and Ralph B. Curd with escort paddlers Nicolas Araujo, Julian Seekins, Javier Rojas, Carlos Ríos, Ramiro González, and Kevin Gonzalez alongside as he swam through the day and night. The swim was photographed and filmed by Gonzalo Martin while weather experts Dane and Jennifer Clark were on dryland providing weather and current information throughout the swim. Robert Strauss was the chief observer assisted by David Boudreau and Ed Haray

His first record set was 238 km over 24 hours from 10:00 am on July 19th to 10:00 am on July 20th. Strauss said later, “The currents were going so fast. We calculated that Pablo was swimming 100 meters approximately every 40 seconds for 24 hours. He was flying.”

Steven Munatones commented on the world record current-assisted swim, “Compare Pablo’s average speed – sustained for 24 hours – to the speed of Olympic male sprinters who are maxing out at 46-47 seconds in a 100-meter sprint with a dive and turn while wearing techsuits. It was brilliant for Pablo and his team to find such a fast-moving body of water under the optimal conditions and then ride the current for over a day. Logistically, operationally, meteorologically, navigationally, it was a great swim. And what a fun new niche in the ocean swimming world – current-positive marathon swims in the ocean – to be able to swim so fast for so long. There have also been river swims where the swimmers ride the water movement for long periods in current-assisted solo swims, but I do not think anyone has swum so far and so fast like Pablo did.”

His second record set was the longest distance covered in an ocean swim when he finally finished at 12:36 pm on July 20th. He covered 250 km (155.34 miles) in 26 hours 36 minutes and 18 seconds – without fins or hand paddles, just riding the fast-moving Gulf Stream.

Strauss confirmed that Fernández swam the first 100 km in 11 hours 7 minutes and 7 seconds. The first 200 km in 21 hours 21 minutes and 20 seconds. The first 225 km in 23 hours 54 minutes and 19 seconds.

Copyright © 2008 – 2021 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Steven Munatones