Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

South African Madswimmers Jean Craven and Neil Macaskill will participate in the Pan-American Colibrí Swim, a 10 km cross-border swim from California to Tijuana, Mexico on May 5th.

The swim is a global initiative, bringing together 12 swimmers from South Africa, USA, Mexico, New Zealand and Israel, to swim for the Colibrí Centre for Human Rights – a foundation that works tirelessly to end migrant death and the related suffering of families along the US-Mexico border,” described Nicolene Steynberg of Madswimmer. “The swim was inspired by the incredible Dead Sea Swim completed last year.”

Neil Macaskill explained a bit about the marathon swim:

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Why do you want to participate in this swim?

Neil Macaskill: I think it’s important that everyone be afforded the same amount of respect and privilege no matter what their background. Swimming is a unique way to generate interest in topics which sometimes get ignored or forgotten. When different people from around the world gather to swim to show their belief, it highlights the issue as important for everyone.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Are you looking forward to the swim?

Neil Macaskill: Most definitely. I am super excited to see good friends again and swim in a totally new location.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How are cross-border swims different from typical marathon swims and channel swims?

Neil Macaskill: I think cross border swims are more unique. Generally they are huge challenges logistically and wouldn’t be possible without a huge amount of behind-the-scenes organization from everyone involved. Also always exciting to cross borders in the water.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Is there anyone in the group who you have not met before and who you wish to meet and swim with?

Neil Macaskill: There are a quite few people in the team I haven’t met before, but I love meeting new people and swimming together is a fun way of getting to know someone. It helps you bond quickly, and it’s just fun to do.

The Colibrí Center for Human Rights serves to alleviate the suffering of individuals whose family members have died while crossing the USA-Mexican border,” explains Colibrí swim ambassador Kimberley Chambers.

We hope to enable the Colibrí Center for Human Rights to continue its work on a larger scale and to inspire people from all walks of life to understand, appreciate and attempt to resolve political, cultural and social differences that may separate them from others.”

The Pan-American Colibrí swimmers include Chambers (New Zealand), Antonio Argüelles (Mexico), Oded Rahav (Israel), Jean Craven (South Africa), Rene Martínez Saenz (Mexico), Ryan Nelson (USA), Melissa King (USA), Neil Macaskill (South Africa), Nora Toledano (Mexico), Mariel Hawley (Mexico), Dan Simonelli (USA), and Ben Enosh (USA/Israel). They will be supported and escorted by kayakers: Billy Carlson (USA), Matt Donoghue (USA), Haden Ware (USA), Anna Lopez and the Out of the Boat Team (Mexico), Kala Sherman-Presser (USA), Tom Hecker (USA), and Kevin Eslinger (USA) as well as Madswimmer organizers Nicolene Steynberg and Kamini Moodley (both of South Africa).

The swimmers and their escort flotilla will traverse 10 km from Imperial Beach south of San Diego, California, across the USA – Mexican maritime border in the Pacific Ocean, to Playas de Tijuana in Tijuana, Mexico. They will swim together, starting at 8:30 am and plan to unfurl an event banner at the United States-Mexican border en route, and plan to arrive on the shores of Playas de Tijuana four hours later.

We will enter on the south side of the Imperial Beach Pier, swim out past the surf, and head south guided by escort boats and kayakers until we reach shore in Tijuana, Mexico south of the USA-Mexican border. We hope to bring people from various countries together as ambassadors of goodwill to express our deepest concern in a way we know best – swimming. Ignoring human suffering is something that those of us in privileged societies should not allow,” described Chambers. “Today, more than ever before, the Pan-American Colibrí swimmers believe the Pacific ocean is a great venue to demonstrate how water can unite people from all walks of life, despite different beliefs and perspectives.”

For more information, visit the event website or read Pan-American Colibrí Swim Crosses Borders.

To donate or volunteer for the Colibrí Center for Human Rights, visit here.

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