Swimming from Russia to Turkey 320km
Nominated for the "Performance of the Year" Award.
If you like to vote click here: https://www.openwaterswimming.com/contestants/rusya-turkiye-uluslararasi-karadeniz-2021/
When you read this headline, you would think that’s crazy! Who would do those things and why!?! 320 km swimming from Russia to Turkey day and night in unexplored waters – the Black Sea, with its wavy, stormy, unpredictable sea conditions. 6 days without proper sleep and rest from Sochi to Giresun.
How can this work out and happen?! It worked with an amazing team. Each of the team members played a big role to make this happen. There was a clear purpose, a vision a shared passion! This result is proof of joined dedication, purpose passion…
Let me share our story with you day by day, moment by moment, starting with our purpose and our dream team:
So why did we swim for six days and nights? For saying Thank You to the healthcare workers worldwide!
• Our clear purpose was to show our gratitude to health care workers. They are supporting us in this pandemic time, day and night like running a marathon. In these times, we have understood the importance of health care workers more and more. They have a tough working environment, deal every minute with emotional, demanding situations show endurance to save our lives. We were dedicated to swimming day and night despite stormy nights, despite tiredness to show our gratitude with the vision to swim this route for the first time in the world and leave our footprint.
• The motto of this marathon was defined as “Strokes in the Black Sea for the World Healthcare workers and Peace”.
With a powerful dream team and one shared vision, you can do everything in the world!
12 swimmers – 7 swimmers from Turkey – 3 swimmers from Russia and 2 swimmers from Germany. But of course, without the coast guard team, the health support team the organizational support team, we as swimmers couldn’t do this! Most importantly, without our trainer – organizer Mustafa Özer, we couldn’t even imagine this kind of a big event. He organized all the sponsors, all the cooperation partners the security team.
Besides the dedication, passion and, purpose, the common thing of each of us was that everybody brought his unique mindset and motivational spirit. We all wanted to face this challenge, brought our soul and body power in, and just trusted the process.
Let me introduce the team members to you and their inspiring life mottos:
• Swimmer Relay Team:
Our Russian swimmers came from the Moscow area. They didn’t know each other before and met at this event. The get-together on the first day was important for building a team spirit.
1) Pavel Kullinich: Our dolphin man. Pavel swam with the dolphins during the event. He lives in Kolomna, near Moscow, working as a supply chain management expert. A very optimistic, deep soul. Always grateful, he brought philosophical questions into the room and his passionate about nature and swimming.
His life motto:
• Always act with love and have a passion for what you do.
• To know my capabilities better, I go out of my comfort zone.
• The support of family and friends is always important in a challenging journey.
2) Anton Vetrov: A very focused, proud and fun personality when you look more behind the scenes also very emotional. His inspirational life reflection: «To be - rather than to seem to be» - this is my rule of life. With this rule, I go through the difficulties of both life and business. It's hard to be honest with myself, but remaining committed to my principles, not giving up and not changing them, I went through a lot in sports and in life, remaining who I am.
Someone does not like it, someone says that I am too principled, but these words and opinions are not important to me. After all, the main thing is that I can always take responsibility for myself and am always confident in what I am doing.
If someone tries to get out of the comfort zone by inventing various competitions or challenges for themselves, then I just look at such people smiling and thing "to get out of the comfort zone, you need to be inside it, and I still don't know what is in and out of my comfort area". Just be true. Be Real - Be yourself.
3) Zhana Zelenskaja: Zhana always smiling, a very calm and dedicated swimmer, beautiful mum, wife and a motivational swim coach. Her powerful motto:
Always stay calm, you can accomplish more than you think. Be always open and stay for yourself.
4) Kürsat Tüzmen: He is a former state minister and more important a great inspirational leader, businessman – role model for all of us. A great speaker, an inspiring role model who always practices what he preaches. Showing us how to follow the passion, being a successful leader and a motivated athlete with endurance no matter what age. The proof of continuity and endurance.
5) Burcak Tumay Pekel: Always energetic dedicated powerful in the water. Our power woman. She loves challenges and crazy events. A former successful water baller and now she is a great swimming teacher especially specialized for the baby swim and fitness coach.
Her inspiring motto is:
PRESSURE MAKES DIAMONDS. THEREFORE, THE FORMATION OF THE DIAMOND İS PATİENTLY EXPECTED FOR MANY YEARS🙏
6) Ahmet Nakkas – The son of a former Olympic swimmer, world champion, and record holder in Turkey. He is a great inspiration for all of us. Our fastest swimmer, with his great pace and technique and optimistic strong perspective. He is also a successful businessman, owner of a fashion brand in Turkey. He is showing us that age does not matter, and strength is in you always. He is the proof of dedication, power, and performance.
His motivational motto is:
To live knowing yourself in every breath - her nefeste kendini bilerek yaşamak.
7) Tarkan Tuzmen – He is the open water leader in Turkey, former singer and actor, businessman, and for sure a great father and family man. With his positivity, energy, and voice he impressed all of us.
His inspiring motto:
Dream - activate and finish.
8) Nurettin Unal- He is our hero; he is rescuing the lives of so many people from real disasters. He is showing us the real resilience and dedication to save other people’s lives. No matter which challenge, fire or earthquake, he is there where he is needed and do his incredible job as a fireman and natural disaster manager
His philosophical Motto:
Everything starts with one stroke.. Success is forever.. “Herşey bir kulaçla başlar, “başarı daima başarı”
I couldn’t decide my birth and my death, but I can decide what I do till my death. That’s why I live life to the fullest, with all the beauties and enjoy it!
9)Faruk Ilguy: Faruk is a great trainer, motivator, and father.
His motto is highlighting the team power:
Don’t underestimate one stroke. If the one stroke finds a great team then you can cross seas.
“Bir kulaca küçük diye aldanma…O kulaç güzel bir takımla bütünleşirse denizler aşılır…
10) Prof. Kubilay Cimen: Our professor from Marmara University, motivator and role model. No matter the weather and circumstances, always dedicated to going with the challenge and checking on us. He was always energetic and motivated and was a great role model for us.
His meaningful life motto:
Always dream and go for my dreams. Again and again. This gives me the power to live. I know. When I stop following my dreams, then life will leave me.
Daima hayal kurar ve gerçekleştirmek için gayret gösteririm. Ve yeniden yeniden. Bu beni hayata bağlar. Bilirim ki! hayal kurmayı ve hayallerimin peşinden koşmayı bıraktığım gün hayat beni bırakır.
11) Hamza Bakircioglu: Our world record holder in ice swimming, swam several times the ice mile and our number one in the German Bodenseeüberquerung, our ice-man and full of inspiration.
Always following a positive mindset and saying
“ Just enjoy no matter which challenging situation you are in; just enjoy the journey”.
He is always testing his inner borders, expanding his potential, setting a goal, and working for it in a disciplined way.
He always goes for big dreams and goals. He will again break a world record and will surprise us with his power, dedication, and strong mindset. He also motivated me to prepare for the world championship ice swimming. So glad that I could be coached by him and will attempt the world championship.
His motto is:
Always set high goals, work for them, explore your potential and reach your goal.
12) Deniz Kayadelen – Out of Comfort Zone Magic can happen. Your imagination is the limit! Read my book “ Out of Comfort Zone” if you are curious about more =)
Last but not least - Without this guy nothing would have happened!!
Mustafa Özer: What a visionary, what a fighter and motivator. Mustafa is not just a dedicated trainer of the Istanbul Yildizlar swim club, he realized the impossible. He convinced hundreds of people of this event and made it happen! What an achievement, what a dedication. He always motivated us with his great energy, smile, touching other people’s hearts, and showing that nothing is impossible! Was so glad when he invited me to this event. In the beginning, I thought it was a joke, but he proved that nothing was a joke- on the contrary, a real dream became true.. We are all grateful to you Mustafa!..
Dr. Cengiz Karagozoglu: He is a psychologist, our research champion, motivator during the challenge always asked how we feel, observed us, and supported us. He did all our tests for the health research led by Marmara University all day and night always with a great smile and calmness.
Thank you a lot to the further health team: Dr. Ugur Cancel, Emergency Dr. Niyazi Kiyoglu
Dilek Yalcin: Our main supporter, a translator who encouraged us day and night and built the bridge between Russia and Turkey. Thanks to Dilek, we could find great Russian team members.
Her life motto is:
Nothing is impossible!
Tuncay Bayram the referee from the FINA. He had problems with the waves and had always salt sticks with him, and we all benefit from it. He is the hidden champion of this organization.
His life motto:
Be a good person and you will find your worth, be a bad person you will find the worst
SEN İYİ İNSAN OL ELBET BULURSUN EDERİNİ, EĞER OLURSAN KÖTÜ İNSAN ELBET BULURSUN BETERİNİ
Prof Dr. Turgay Bicer: I am a fan of this man. I read his book “ Doruk Performans ” He supported us with his motivational speech before departure. I love to hear his passion, his thoughts, and his challenging questions. He is a psychologist, professor at Marmara University, and author.
His beautiful motto:
I love to give meaning to people and have also a meaningful life. I try my best in all things I do. If I teach one thing, I learn three things to learn more. A healthy life with passion and trying to maximize the beauty in life are important for me. Always live with passion, health and try to be your best version!
Thank you to our great Fina Registered Referees: Volkan Unutmaz, Tuncay Bayram
"We think ourselves as the ocean in this world but we’re only a raindrop"
Zerre oldugumuz su dunyada kendimizi okyanus zannediyoruz
"The value I give you will not render me valueless." benim sana verdigim deger beni degersizlestirmez
Thank you to our Turkey Swimming Federation Controller: Ibrahim Burak Goral - What a funny person with so much passion for what he is doing. Really enjoyed our swim dance together!
Thanks to the great media team, they did a great job and created our documentation movie, which is on Youtube now: TV Team from TRT: Suleyman Cil, Mert Gungor, Murat Eksi, Burhan Torunlar, Ismail Burak Aykin
Curious about the documentation movie? click here:
Organizator: Mustafa Ozer, Ali Rahim Simsek (Organizator Assistant)
The team consisted of 23 persons.
Doctor: empathy and positivism
Ali Rahim Simsek- always stay positive. If you can solve a problem then do it, if no don’t get upset about it and spend your energy on being sad. Just keep going.
Let’s start the day by day night by night-…
12.6. Day 1 – Get-together and press meeting in Giresun
On June 12, we arrived in Giresun. Giresun, the pearl of the Black Sea, is a lovely coastal city where the colors of blue and green embrace each other. You can see every shade of green and find the opportunity of becoming one with nature in the valleys of Giresun. We stayed in the beautiful Hotel La Quinta by Wyndham Giresun. First, all members undertook a COVID-19 test. Preventive measures and COVID regulations were observed.
The swimmer team didn’t know each other completely, some swam before, they crossed the Mediterranean Sea, but there were also new teammates, so we used the time to get to know each other, and then the Russian team came as well. It was great to see so many different personalities focused on one goal.
We started with a health check-up and a Corona test. The check-up team from Marmara University checked our physical and psychological conditions before, during, and also after our swimming marathon and the results will be used for an international sport body and mind research paper.
We decided to swim to get used to the Black Sea water, and also to recover from our long trip. The training was nice. We swam to the only island in Giresun, which was around 2km away from the shore. After the swim training, we went to the technical press meeting. It was great to see how well-prepared everything was, and we saw so many people from the press and the local politicians opened the technical meeting with their speeches.
After the meeting, we got a surprise from the hotel: We saw a great local dance show while having dinner next to the sea with an amazing sunset view.
We enjoyed getting to know each other better, and it was amazing to see that each of us was so excited and had a lot of adrenalin. Each of us had great open-water experiences. It was a unique team. It felt like being in a dream camp. It was an exceptional atmosphere and feeling.
In the evening, there was a welcoming ceremony, where the Governor, the City Sports Director, the Swimming Federation official of Giresun, the dean of Giresun University, the provincial sports director, and deputies from Giresun welcomed us.
This was the last night before we moved to the vessel and went to the unknown. I was happy to enjoy the last night in a beautiful hotel room with a sea view, with the knowledge that I would not sleep in this comfortable way anymore.
I tried to enjoy the bed, the relaxed atmosphere, and sleep. The excitement was there and it was hard to calm down and just sleep. I had so many thoughts in my mind and so many questions. What about the fishes in the sea, what about the jellyfishes, what about the unknown risk factors, what about my mind and my body. What about the water temperature and what about my performance? I couldn’t train a lot during corona times, and it was a challenge to swim two hours per day at your max speed. Also further thoughts like how the weather would be, what if a storm came, what if I could not sleep, and a lot of more questions distracted my mind and made my deep sleep more difficult. At the same time, I was so amazed by the team and of the situation, and I was so grateful and happy to be part of this great team and was excited because it was starting.
13.6 - 2nd Day - Way to Sochi
On day 2 after breakfast, we went to the meeting room and had the pleasure of listening to the motivational speech of Prof. Turgay Bicer. I have always been a fan of him. He wrote the book “Doruk Performans” – “Peak Performance” This book helped me to deal with my inner anxiety before swimming championships. I was always so nervous before important races because of the inner pressure to show my best performance, that I got always ill and had a fever. My best times were always before races. On the race day, I always swam a few seconds slower than in practices. I stressed my body so much that I sabotaged myself and couldn’t show my peak performance in the races.
After reading his book, I started with imagination exercises and meditation and followed Prof. Bicer’s valuable hints. These helped me a lot, and then I and my swim team started to use his techniques, and we all started to do the visualization exercises before the races. After all those years, seeing him in front of me and listening to his motivational speech was special for me. He prepared us for the challenge and did some expectation management. He brought us mentally and emotionally to the top and motivated us to maintain our inner strength and activate our inner purpose no matter what happens in this marathon.
He asked a great and key question:
“Why you are here right now? What is your purpose? “
The question was not easy for us. There were different answers:
“To enjoy. To explore. To grow. To show our gratitude”
My answer was to go out of my comfort zone, explore my limits and further potential and get inspiration. He knew that if we knew our purpose and had our answer no matter how difficult the challenge would be, we would always remember why we were doing this and would continue.
He also continued with a visualization exercise. We closed our eyes and dreamt about the swim and our goal achievement at the end. Visualization and self-confidence are important before you start with a big challenge. As a team, you need to trust each other, believe in each other, and also trust and believe in yourself. With doubts, you can’t maximize your potential and the potential of others.
After those group sessions, we continued with Individual 1:1 sessions and reflected on our purpose, strong sides, and our growth zone learning areas.
In our 1:1 session, he asked me the following question and focused on the word “limit” “Exploring my limits”
Limit is just in our mind!
He asked: What will happen when you explore your limits? What is the limit?
I said I don’t know what’s the limit. Limit is on our minds. We may be using just 10% of our real capacity. We can do more than we think. Physically and mentally, the more we go out of our comfort zone and do new things, the more we use our potential and extend our comfort zone.
After the 1:1 sessions, we left our hotel rooms had lunch, continued with some press work.
Our journey with the Coast Guard Boat TCSG-DOST- started. Onboard were more than 100 mariners, who worked for us. They prepared delicious meals, making sure that we swimmers got enough carbohydrates and protein.
We went to the vessel TCSG-DOST with our luggage. The vessel was a big one a coast guard boat, which is 100.0meter lengths and 12 m beam, with more than 70 mariners.
This vessel and team were the only way to realize our dream. The crew knows the extraordinary conditions from the Black Sea, they were there to protect us when needed, could feed the full team with 23 persons and all the marine team, in total more than 100 people and this for 6 days.
It was time to go. Going to Sotchi.
The boat started to go to Sotchi 80 soldiers, 12 swimmers, and 20 support team - health workers, press, documentation team and observers, trainer team.
What a massive organization and people effort.
We were 4 women and had our room. We put our staff there and explored the vessel.
On the way to Sotchi, we saw so many dolphins. Dolphins are my favorite animals. They have a high EQ and spread beauty and happiness to the world. It was so amazing to see them and feel their energy. It made all of us happy!
After the dinner, our famous swimmer, former singer, actor and currently businessman, entrepreneur Tarkan Tüzmen started to give us a lovely concert. The swimmer team, the main crew, the organizational and health teams, we all together started to sing and listen to his beautiful voice.
For this event he even wrote a song, which we sang together:
PULL, PULL PULL YOUR STRONGEST STROKE
CROSS, CROSS, CROSS, THE MIGHTY WAVES
SWIM, SWIM, SWIM, SWIM, SWIM FOR THE FRIENDSHIP
After this beautiful motivational get-together, we had a boat tour of all the areas of the ship, watched the stars, saw the milky way and the living quarters of the seaman. It was like a dream journey with lots of emotions.
The best Milkyway ever.
It was the best milky way I had ever seen. Dilek, Pavel, Anton, Burcak had the pleasure of seeing this beauty and started to speak about philosophical topics and felt inspired by the nature.
In the early morning, we arrived in Sochi.
14.6 3rd day – Start from Sochi to Giresun
After 10 hours, we had arrived in Sochi.
No internet, no phone connection just we and the endless blacksea..
Digital Detox started.
It was the first time for us to be so long without any internet and mobile connection. No calls, no messages, no emails, no social media nothing. Just us and nature. It felt so unique and somehow also relaxed. We started to use our phones just to take pictures and videos of our event and make some important notes.
Swimming officially started at 9 am with Kürsat Tüzmen in Sochi
The swim started at 9 am with our first swimmer Kürsat Tüzmen, the former trade minister of Turkey. We all were so excited and couldn’t wait to go into the beautiful water. We were lucky with the weather. It was sunny, warm and the waves were ok. The order of the swimmers, the planning of the event, the decision of who would be the first
swimmer, the decision for the swimmers who would swim at night, the fixing of the swimmers who would be swimming against the current, all followed as defined by the technical board during the technical meeting before the marathon.
To ensure security, we swam behind the big, main ship and next to a smaller boat.
All of us swam for one hour. That means that each of us swam every 12 hours for one hour. During the break time, we had time for watching our teammates, motivating and supporting them, eating, having a rest, and sleeping. Every time a swimmer jumped into the sea, the teammates supported him/her with applause and gave morale, also when they finished their swims, at day or also at night. We felt from day one the massive team spirit and synergy.
I had the 7th position, which meant that I waited for my turn for 6 hours, watching and motivating my swim mates in the meantime.
This swim was also a medical experiment.
Before and after swimming, blood and saliva were taken from each swimmer. Blood values, lactic acid values, body mass indices, and body fat were all measured. Marmara University and Giresun University will write an official report about the physical and psychological effects of the swim on the swimmers.
First night storm.
In the nighttime, there was a big storm, and we needed to stop! It was so frustrating. The first night swims, and we needed to stop. It wasn’t a surprise for the crew. We were faced with a storm of 58 Knots per hour. They told us that the Black Sea is like a surprise package and that it is famous for its storms, waves, and unpredictable weather conditions. You never know when and how the weather turns. In three different weather sources, there were three different estimates. The organization's decision committee had a quick urgent emergency meeting.
They went out looked into our eyes and said: Security and health come first.! “We will do everything to complete the route healthy. So go to sleep, recharge yourself, and wait for a sign from us in the early morning.”
We slept and waited for our turn. It was hard to sleep with feeling the adrenalin in your body and the unknown of what was going to happen next. The huge ship was shaking, and we heard the voice of the storm. And with the unknown of when we would start again, our body was on alert mode. At 5.30 am I woke up, checked the vessel, the weather, and looked for our people. I couldn’t see anybody, but one seaman and together with him we woke up the trainer and observer. It was decided to continue with the swim at 7 am. It took a little bit of time to prepare everything for the security boat. I wanted to make sure to not miss out on our turn, but the storm continued, and it was even forbidden to go out and check the weather. The vessel needed to have a minimum speed to secure its balance and it pinned our stopping point and moved way and forth to protect the motor...
Because of the night storm, we needed to pause for 6 hours. The weather conditions of the Black Sea made this marathon very difficult. There were continuous currents in different directions, over the water was a different flow and under the water an opposite flow, which make it very hard for us to swim forward. From time to time, the waves were three meters high.
4th day - 15.6 – Out of comfort zone magic can happen.
In the early morning, we started. I swam at noon. We wanted to move on faster, and I decided to wear my wetsuit. With the wetsuit, you are faster than normal because of the lifting effect in the water.
We saw again many dolphins around us who accompanied us from the beginning until the end of the marathon, from Sochi to Giresun.
The real magical moment was when our Russian swimmer Pavel jumped into the water.
A dolphin family swam together with him, during his whole 1 hour swim along. We saw the dolphins next to him, in front of him, under him, and behind him. That was so magical. I got so excited to see this unique scenario. How lucky he was. And it was his dream to swim with dolphins. It showed us again that out of comfort zone magic can happen and you can realize your dreams! After this amazing swim, we started to call Pavel “dolphin man”. We nominated him as our dolphin man.
Burcak and Tarkan afterward also swam with the dolphins and further magical moments happened in the sea. Just we and nature with all the beauties and scary moments during the storm. We all felt alive. Felt our support of each other, our passion our love in nature, to the sea, and followed our swim passion no matter how difficult it was, with less sleep and many unknowns.
In this kind of swimming, there could happen many complications...
In the nighttime, my turn come but the second security boat’s engine stopped. The security team said that we were not allowed to swim with just one control boat. The swim stopped again. They told me I needed to go to sleep and come back with further power at 4.30 am. It was frustrating for me. I was ready to swim and was so motivated but needed to stop myself, calm down and wait for the next turn. This event was not just a swim challenge; it was also a mental challenge for all of us. Started with the preparation phase and coping with all the external and internal factors.
5th day - 16.6 Feeling the wholeness- pure love..
I woke up at 4 am and get myself ready for the sunrise swim. The weather conditions looked great. Waves were still unpredictable but OK for the coming swim. The sunrise looked amazing. Every time I was in the water I felt another magic.
I became the nature, the nature become me..
I became nature, nature became me. Just one, an amazing feeling. In those moments I sense the fulfillment and connection with the whole universe and the pure love. This experience was not just about swimming it was a spiritual journey for all of us.
We all swam our turns and felt excited to be coming step by step near to the goal – to the finish at Giresun. We danced, we sang, we did some exercises, we talked, we laughed, we played games, we slept, we supported each other and shared all those special moments.
The sunset was amazing. Slowly, the internet connection came, and we started seeing Giresun’s lights. It became darker and we saw more lights far away from us.
First night swim in Giresun
I was kind of nervous. It was completely dark. Waited my turn with my swim mates, watched the stars, tried to get mentally and physically ready.
Everybody in the team has swum in darkness, now it was my turn. In such moments, you feel responsible for the overall team and there is no room for fear or other excuses. The team gave me the led lamps for the night swim. I knew that two boats would follow me and the team in the ship would check on me with thermal cameras, which could detect me and other animals by our heat.
So I got ready and jumped into the darkness.
I couldn’t see anything. The big ship was in front of me, and the small speed boat was behind me. I just saw the small lights of those and tried to follow the big ship’s lights.
One of the scariest moments in my life! Nature protected me!
The tiny moon was behind the clouds and I felt so naked, so alone in the water and just trusted nature that everything would be ok and nature would protect me. Stroke by stroke, after 20 min I felt something on my foot. That was one of the scariest moments in my life! I started to sprint. People say that I am famous for my fast kicks and my kicks got so fast that I felt exhausted in a few minutes and I also thought that if there is something, some "fish" below me, it would be faster than me and my kicks and sprints would not help and I had another 40 min to swim and needed to decide, will I swim with this fear or will I shout to the boat and stop the swim.
I couldn’t stop, neither for the team nor for myself. That was not an option. So I decided to slow down, bring my heartbeat to normal, swim at a controlled pace, and tried to control my mind and fear. Because I had the feeling that I was losing my mind.
The 5 days along it was new moon time so there was no moon visible. But this evening there was the rebirth of the moon; a thin moonshine was behind the clouds.
And I saw the moon behind the clouds and suddenly saw the figure of a king in the clouds. The king looked at me, and I felt that this was the king of the sea (Poseidon) and protecting me from the sky. It was just a coping strategy of my mind, but it worked. In those kinds of overwhelming situations, our brains start to cope with different methods, and this was a unique experience. Out of our comfort zone, we explore ourselves. We don’t know how our body, the mind reacts in new situations and that was exactly a new exploration – my imagination – creativity of my brain in such a challenging situation protected me.
I saw the main ship was going faster and faster and the distance between us became more. I couldn’t see the small boat and felt panic. I checked the time. It was 30 – 45 minutes .. Possibly the longest one-hour swim that I ever had.
When the boat came next to me to pick me up, I felt so relieved and was so happy that I survived and nothing bad had happened. When I was on the ship, it took me one hour to normalize and after calming down I slept with joy, excitement and was so proud of the overall crew. We saw the shore. Our dream comes true.
6th day - 17.6 - Giresun is in front of us! !! Our dream is fulfilled.
We started to inform everyone that we were coming to Giresun and the organizing committee and the city of Giresun prepared a big ceremony for us at the finish area. Just 4-5 hours left and we would be there.
Somehow, we had got used to living in the ship, so I thought of what would happen if we were again on the shore, in normal life.
We started to pack our stuff slowly and get connected with the real world. They were waiting for us on the shore, and we swam our last meters.
For the last 300meters, we decided to jump all together and swim to the finish line.
12 swimmers arrived at the shore together. There was a red carpet waiting for us, all the media, all the people.
After 6 days in nature, it was somehow surreal to see all the people and come back to the real world. We hugged each other, congratulated each other, and took many photos with others, with foreign people who saws us as a hero. The municipality had prepared a great ceremony for us and we received medals and a few small gifts. It was so great to feel the support, the spirit from all those people, and we felt so grateful for what we achieved and what kind of support mechanism we got in all those days.
In total, the marathon finished in 6 days, between 14-20th June 2021.
The crew had become a family to us. In this short time, we felt like a family and built so strong relationships.
This event showed us that nothing is impossible! We just need to keep going, following our dreams, and in the end, it will happen in the right moment with the right team, with the right people!
Thank you again, our healthcare workers! We hope that this pandemic phase will come to an end but we are also aware that there will be again and again other challenges in life. So we always need to keep our optimism, and dreams, continue to follow our passion, believe in ourselves no matter in which situation we are.
With deepest respect and gratitude to our healthcare workers, to the organization committee, the swim team, and officers on the ship,