UltraSwim 33.3 – multi-day point-to-point adventure swim races
March 28, 2023
Endurance swimming like never before
/ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – UltraSwim 33.3 is a new global swimming series being launched this year with the aim of developing multi-day, point-to-point ‘off-road’ open water adventure races.
It’s a new format that is positioned perfectly between the many one-day 10km marathon or shorter races, and the super-long distance challenge swims, such as the English Channel.
Indeed, UltraSwim 33.3 is inspired in part by this iconic challenge between England and France, with swimmers aiming to complete the equivalent direct Dover-Calais distance of 33.3km, but spread over four days and six swims.
But they will do so in a ‘race’ format, and in warmer, more colourful, waters than the English Channel!
“I’ve been dreaming of creating this event for a few years now”, commented UltraSwim 33.3 founder, and passionate open water swimmer, Mark Turner.
“The cocktail of pushing up against your mental and physical limits over several consecutive days, in a timed ‘race’ environment, produces incredible individual and group emotion. This is what I love about endurance outdoor sport events – the ability to change people’s outlook on life, and give them renewed confidence in their day to day lives, having taken on and achieved what sometimes feels like an impossible challenge. Unlike many swim races, we will do everything to avoid laps, preferring a more ‘off-road’ format that takes the swimmers on a journey from the start to the finish, with a variety of conditions to challenge them along the way. Think multi-stage WRC car rally rather than F1 or FINA elite lap races”
Before launching the first full event in 2023, the UltraSwim 33.3 concept was tested by a diverse 30-strong set of swimmers in Montenegro last September. Among them, Becky Frankel had this to say: “Top class event, the whole adventure was utterly brilliant, life-affirming, challenging and massively rewarding, with special life-long friends and memories made”.
The new event includes a marathon swim of 10km+ on day three of a ‘long weekend’ timed challenge, with both wetsuit and skins categories. In addition to the solo category, there is also a duo relay format, with a total of c.20km and never more than 5km in one swim, that opens up the format to an even wider audience.
UltraSwim 33.3 organisers are building a solid sustainability strategy around three pillars, that will allow the event to reduce its environmental footprint, inspire and engage others, and to restore and regenerate its playground – the oceans, lakes and rivers of the world. This will be part of the event’s commitment to the United Nations (IUCN) new ‘Sports for Nature’ framework.
This will include using its influence for example to motivate local communities to refuse single-use plastic, so much of which ends up in the oceans and rivers in which we swim. UltraSwim 33.3 is also developing a campaign to help the conversion of local motor boats (an essential part of the safety organisation of open water swim races) to non-fossil fuel alternatives – reducing the carbon footprint of the event, but more importantly the long term footprint of the venue, as well as providing a fume and noise free environment for the swimmers.
The first UltraSwim 33.3 event of the 2023 series takes place in Montenegro at the end of September, following on from a successful ‘test’ edition there in 2022.
The waters around Herceg Novi, not far from the Croatian port city of Dubrovnik (which boasts excellent flight connectivity), offer varied conditions to challenge swimmers – from flat fjords, to the sometimes more challenging turquoise coastal waters of the Adriatic Sea.
Rewarding for swimmers who can do 2.5km or more in an hour’s swim, this inaugural event is already attracting athletes from all over the world – among them dedicated open water swimmers looking for a new challenge, triathletes completing end-of-season training or retiring from the knee bashing of road running.
Then there are swim-runners looking for a similar format but swim-only, master swimmers looking for a competitive open-water race without the cold water, and finally, all types of passionate swimmers looking for an epic adventure with an element of competition thrown in.
The inspiration behind UltraSwim 33.3 comes from Turner’s experience in co-founding the successful Haute Route cycling series in 2011. Like the Haute Route, this new multi-day format features a host of premium support services from post-swim sports massage, 1:1 video analysis in the pool before and during an event, and a comprehensive level of safety cover on the water.
With only two multi-day swim race events currently in existence – the tough SCAR in the USA, and a four-day trek event in Morocco, UltraSwim 33.3 aims to open up this ‘life-changing’ experience to many more people around the world. The ambition is to grow the series to eight events over the next few years.
Turner explains the rationale for the new series: “As we discovered from our experience with the Haute Route (created by his former company, OC Sport, and now owned by Ironman Group), the organisation of multi-day events is complex compared with the one-day, 10km-type marathon races. And that’s why there are so few in existence.
“But it is because the participants get up and repeat long swims each day, against the clock in a race format but for amateurs, that these events are so often ‘life-changing’. Pushing minds and bodies in a long weekend format, which builds up to a marathon distance on day three – with a 33.3km objective constantly in one’s head – brings people together and creates life-long bonds that one-day events don’t achieve to the same degree.”
Rendez-vous at www.ultraswim333.com for more details on UltraSwim 33.3 – epic adventure swim races, and so much more than just a race.