Bravery is an understatement when it comes to these folks.
Yesterday morning, these men and women with iron wills took on the gruelling inaugural Upolu to Savai’i swim in the early hours of the morning. That’s right, you swim from Upolu to Savai’i.
Followed by support boats and kayaks, the swimmers made the long journey just as the sun began to rise lighting their path.
The 22.3km swim across the Apolima strait is the opening event for the Savai’i Games, an initiative to put Savai’i on the map and to counter the ‘Upolu gets everything’ mentality.
The man behind the initiative is Seti Afoa.
“This is the first event of its kind and there are five solo swimmers as well as two teams; these teams are the Samoan teams and Western teams,” he said.
“This event is massive and we will be doing it annually; next year will most probably be bigger where we will expect at least 30 swimmers.”
Minutes before the swim began the athletes were itching to get into the water.
“As you can see the people are buzzed; some have been preparing between 8 – 10 months for this event and for this moment,“ Afoa said.
“It is very important for us and for the whole of Samoa that we are able to put together an event of such magnitude.”
But with events this big, Afoa said there always challenges.
But the pros do outweigh the cons.
Other than the sports tourism benefits the event also pushes the limits of the local people.
“For the people reading this I want you to challenge yourself and to take up giant events like this. It is within human capabilities so therefore with the right preparations and mindset you will achieve great things,” he said.
“I want to also thank everyone for the support shown and I am excited to see the outcome of the Savai’i Games.”
For local swimmer Sam Nimavota, this will be his greatest challenge.
“I am very happy to be part of this and I am excited to push my limits. This is the longest swim I will ever take on,” he said.
“The most I have done before is a 7 hour swim but the distance of this will be my greatest achievement and I am excited to finish it strong.”
Full results from the Savaii Swim in tomorrow’s Samoa Observer.