The 34-year-old Ayala completed the 45.8 km circumnavigation swim in order to support the cancer-stricken children at the Una Nueva Esperanza Foundation. He raises fund for children with cancer in extreme poverty. “I find this important in order to inspire other swimmers to achieve their goals. Some years ago, I suffered an accident and the doctors told me that I wasn’t going to be able to walk again. Swimming gave me back the opportunity to walk again, after one year of swimming every day in the pool in order to regain my back strength.”
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: You have excelled in so many different sports like basketball, baseball, squash, mountain biking, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon and boxing. When did you do your first open water swim?
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What do you like about open water swimming?
Christian Ayala Espinosa: Some years ago, I wasn’t supposed to see because of a disease in my eyes. Then I wasn’t supposed to walk because of an accident. Open water swimming is meant to be just for the strongest and being able to be part of this selected group of athletes that push themselves out from land into the ocean is a privilege that makes me feel special. Somehow open water swimming became, not just a sport, but a second opportunity of life, for me and for children with cancer in extreme poverty that we help with this challenges.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What have been your biggest challenges in the open water?
Christian Ayala Espinosa: It was the English Channel in 2013 in 17 hours 38 minutes, the Catalina Channel in 2015 in 13 hours 59 minutes, and the 20 Bridges around Manhattan Island in 2017 in 7 hours 15 minutes swimming at full speed.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What do you like to eat or drink during your marathon swims?
Christian Ayala Espinosa: I have a ketogenic diet, so basically my feeding plan is based on animal protein and fat. For carbohydrates, I use sweet potatoes, rice and dark chocolate. As for my hydration, I rinse my mouth with any kind of electrolytes and drink mineral water. The first two hours, I don;t eat anything in order to complete a 16-hour intermittent fasting and be able to begin my swim with a correct amount of ketones in my blood.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Where do you train? Do you train with other open water swimmers or marathon swimmers?
Christian Ayala Espinosa: I train here in Mexico in a 25m pool in a sports club named Nelson Vargas. Most of the time I train alone, but sometimes other swimmers join me in my training session. Once every month, I go to an open water swim with my coach Jorge Villegas and the Coco’s Team in order to measure advances in the training. In those occasions is when I have the opportunity to train with other open water swimmers, including my coach.
His beautiful infographics are above as part of his campaign to raise funds for the Una Nueva Esperanza Foundation, Asociación Civil para Niños con Cáncer.
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