Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Mányoki Attila missed the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in England because he was in New Zealand.

I spend five weeks in Wellington to waiting for [good weather] to swim across the Cook Strait. It was really difficult mentally. My booked window was between April 3rd – 8th.

But bad weather conditions didn’t give me a chance to swim at Cook Strait. Philip Rush helped me by giving me a new chance to stay an extra two weeks until the last day of the season. My chance was very very low to swim again. It was the worst feeling in my career that I might have to go back home without swimming because I spent so much money.

Also, I was alone and because of the time difference between New Zealand and my home [Hungary], it was difficult to communicate with my friends to talk about my problems or questions. Only my girlfriend who supports me so much and stays up long hours on the night to listen to me. She gave me so much good advice.”

He finally received a break in Mother Nature and an opportunity to make an attempt. “Philip said to try a crossing just day before the end of the season. We left from the harbour to look over the strait. The strait was rough. At 11 am, I started my swim from the South Island to the North Island. My trip was very hard and the final section was so difficult because I was swimming against the tide.”

Until the fifth hour, he swam at an average speed of 4.5 km per hour with a stroke per minute pace between 76-80 spm in the 14°C water. “When I was swimming against tide, my same speed only allowed me to start in the same place. Philip changed my route direction. It was a long way, but we finally arrived at the coast of the North Island. The last 3 km took close to 2 hours.”

On April 22nd, he finally successfully crossed the strait in 6 hours 57 minutes 49 seconds to become the 106th individual to swim across the Cook Strait and the sixth fastest time in history. “It is the second fastest time in the season and the fastest time from the South to the North in 2017.

It was really difficult time during these five weeks in New Zealand. I am very tired, but mentally was the hardest,” Mányoki said from his home in Hungary before he starts training again for his sixth Ocean Sevens [Strait of Gibraltar] at the end of October.

I feel that our sport can be more hard mentally. It is never happened before that I could not to swim during my original window period. I was alone over there without escorts or friends and alone far from my home. Every day I was just waiting and finally nothing.

It was difficult. I didn’t want to come back home with the feeling that did everything. In my home, it is very difficult to explain to the people that I could not swim. I spoke with Philip about a new period and I got a chance from him for the last week of the season. It was the last week, but I was the second swimmer because of an Australian swimmer was there too.

I spend six weeks in Wellington and fortunately day before the last day in the season, I got a chance. My girlfriend back home helped me so much so when I jumped into the ocean at South Island, I was really calm. My time had finally arrived and I told myself to just do your job right now and push it. I was really happy after my swim but mentally, I felt the swim was my hardest ever.”

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