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Neil Agius to attempt world record swim from Tunisia to Sicily

Last year, more specifically, on 26 June 2020, Olympian and activist Neil Agius swam a whopping 95 kilometres, from Sicily to Malta in just 28 hours, seven minutes and 27 seconds.

In case that wasn’t enough of a challenge, Neil has announced his next world record attempt; that of swimming from Tunisia to Sicily, a distance of 150 kilometres across the Mediterranean sea, from one continent to the other.

In case your Maths skills are a little rusty, that’s 55 kilometres more than his previous record, with the added challenge of having to cross a channel known to be a busy shipping trail; a notorious route for migrant crossings.

The 34-year-old swimmer is expected to attempt the cross-continental swim at some point between the end of June and the start of July, when weather conditions should (in theory) be optimal.

He’ll be setting off from a small village in Tunisia, eastern Hawaria and arriving in Sicily in the seaside village of Kartibubbo.

To prepare for the swim, Neil will be swimming around our sister island of Gozo no less than three times, on three consecutive days. He expects to swim for around 12 hours straight each time, with the first of those swims scheduled for next Monday, 31 May at 3am.

If weather conditions are good, and see currents on the day are within the parameters allowed by the Marathon Swimming Federation, the mammoth 150km swim will earn Neil a brand new world record.

eastern hawaria, tunisia

kartibubbo, sicily

What are the conditions for the swim?

During the swim, Neil will not be resting or touching the boat throughout the whole 150km swim, and he will also be swimming throughout the night in complete darkness. He will also be crossing several shipping lanes, as well as some popular fishing areas.

He plans on swimming for 29 minutes at a time and then taking one-minute long breaks for water and liquid meals.

Awareness for Wave of Change

The swim is supported by Wave of Change, a campaign Neil himself co-founded to raise awareness for plastic waste in the sea.

The campaign, which Neil said is now registered as a foundation, is launching the Double the Wave Challenge, with a goal of collectively picking up one million pieces of plastic.

“We want people not only to be aware of their plastic rubbish, but also to encourage physical activity in people’s lives. You do not have to do a 153km swim like me: start small and see where it takes you. Be active, be more aware of what you consume and make a change,” Neil told local news site Times of Malta.