In 1949 Aldo Fioravanti and Cesare Alfieri, two passionate swimmers, were the first ones to cover the distance from Naples to Capri island in around 12 hours, at an average of 30 strokes per minute.
Capri-Napoli is one of the most fascinating and difficult competition, until 1992 awarding the long distance world title, now it is an official international competition over the distance of 36 km.
The Gulf of Naples is the fascinating “race field” of this contest starting normally from Marina Grande at Capri (with only four exceptions: 1978 from Marina Piccola, 2010 from the Blue Grotto and in 1981 and 2017 with a race course below the coast in Naples for the prohibitive weather-marine conditions) and finishing to the sea-front in Naples.
The duration of the competition for the winners, in the last years, is between 6 hours and 11′ and 6 hours and 45′, according to the sea and weather conditions.
The fascination of the sea marathons, much more tiring than the earth ones, just lies in the incredible effort going on for several hours in unnatural conditions.
The Capri-Napoli event is surely one of the most celebrated and known in its field. After years of more and more spectacular and fascinating sea challenges, the event has enlarged its horizons and has gone beyond the Italian borders, becoming famous and well-known all over the world.
Just for this reason the Long Distance Swimming International Federation chase the famous race as unique trial to award of the long distance world champion (male and female) title, keeping such praxis up till the beginning of “90′s”.
Then on 1991 FINA included the Open Water Swimming discipline among its ones. Therefore since that year the world championship titles are awarded in different competitions:
- Marathon/Ultramarathon Series: the competition consists of different legs worldwide;
- World Championships: the competition consists of 3 specific distance challenges (5 km, 10 km and 25 km), adding the team test (5 km) taking place in the same venue every 2 years ( during the FINA world Championships ).
- Every 4 years, then, there are the Olympic Games with only 10 km competition.
On 1991 FINA included the open water swimming discipline in the Swimming World Championships with a race over a distance of 25 km only. Then on 1998 FINA added the 5 Km race. At the end of 2000 FINA added the 10 km race as well. This race over the distance of 10 km, since 2008 is part of the Olympic Program.
On 1993/94 FINA promoted the first annual “World Cup” which included 8 legs with distances from 26 Km (Brazil: Tapes) to the 88 km (Argentina: Hernandarias-Paranà).
On 2006 the open water swimming became an Olympic discipline thanks to a IOC decision and a 10 km race (male and famale) has taken place during the Olympic Games of Beijing 2008 for the first time.
Since 2007, considering the goal reached, the “FINA World Cup” calendar is now made by 2 different circuits with races worldwide:
- “FINA ULTRAMARATHON SWIM SERIES (ex Grand Prix)”, which includes the competitions of 15 km and over. This circuit is the one including all the traditional long marathons.
- “FINA MARATHON SWIM SERIES (ex World Cup)” which includes only the 10 Km competitions.
Therefore the “Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli” on 2020 will be held on September, 6th.
For 2020 the FINA circuits have been canceled for COVID-19.
Starting from the 2016 edition, the O.C. introduces the Trophy “Giulio Travaglio” for the best Italian athlete participating at the official race remembering a great friend and one the best swimmer won the race.
Since 2003 the event is promoted by “Eventualmente – Eventi e Comunicazione” marketing and sport promotion Agency.
The 2021 edition of the race from Capri to Naples will be the 55th in 68 years of this famous crossing swimming race, the 19th one of the recent past (from 2003, after a break of 10 years).
Before the long break of 1992 there have been 37 editions in 39 years: the first one dates back to August, 1st on 1954 and the last one to July 5th on 1992 (It was not played on 1984 and on 1985).
This event had for many years the President of Italian Republic’s high sponsorship. It has always been organized and promoted by the newspaper “Il Mattino“, above all thanks to the passion and the commitment of the journalists Alberto Barone and Lello Barbuto, promoters of the race.
Each edition has always had the sponsorship of the Local Government Institutions: Regione Campania, Comune di Napoli, Città di Capri and Azienda di Cura e Soggiorno di Capri.
For many years the swimming marathon Capri-Napoli has been part of a bigger event dating back to the “50s’” called “La Settimana Motonautica” , which used to be an initiative dedicated not just to the swimming marathon, but also to the offshore, the saling and to the water sky contests, looking like a bit water sports festival.
The success of this event is clear looking at in its numbers (updated on 2020):
668 swimmers (500 men and 168 women), with 1.505 swimmers at the start in 53 past events belonging to 57 nations and 5 continents more 365swimmers who swam the competition in relays.
The ones who know the event surely remember the so-called “Nile’s crocodiles” the famous Egyptian athletes who “invented” this kind of contest and first left their mark on the event achieving the first win (Marey Hassan). They grabbed the female wins record (9). The Egyptians were always clashed by the “Argentinian Caymans”, holding the male wins record (11) and the singles presence record, which belongs to Claudio Plit, 15 times at the start (13 + 2 recent past editions), and for female, Pilar Geijo (ARG) and Esther Nunez (ESP) (11).
An Italian swimmer, the Neapolitan Giulio Travaglio, holds the singles win record, in fact he arrived at the first place for 5 times (1965, 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1970), well representing the great and long Italian tradition concerning this discipline.
Finally, the record in terms of time of the competition belongs to Arianna Bridi (ITA) who won the 2020 edition with the historic time of 6h 04′ and 26 “, also preceding the men at the finish line. While at the men’s level the record is was set by Marcel Schouten (NED) with a time of 6h 05 ‘and 07 “, also set in 2020, the year of records.