On the morning of November 30th, the neoprened Jabotis do Sertão relay including Brazilian open water swimmers Flávio Tabarini, Marcelo Napolitano and team leader Sandro Ottoboni with coach Wanderley Santos began the 36 km Travessia do Leme ao Pontal at 2 am in Rio de Janeiro towards Pontal beach.
Adherbal de Oliveira described their challenge, “The Leme to Pontal Crossing is 36 km where the swimmers will see many natural beauties, but they also need to swim at night and overcome many sections with adverse currents, strong winds and turbulence.
The name of the relay, Jabotis do Sertão, was chosen to remember the group of adventure races that one of the members was part of the past.
They prepared countless hours and kilometers for more than six months, but their main objective was to simply enjoy the crossing and admire the natural beauties.
The first to enter the water was Flávio on a star-filled night under pretty favorable sea and wind conditions. The expectation of the group was to finish the crossing in 9 hours.
Everyone understood that controlling their fear of night swimming was one obstacle to overcome. But, after an hour in the water, Flávio said that swimming at night was an incredible and unforgettable experience, despite some scary instances when he unexpectedly ran into something in the water.
Sandro and Marcelo also swam very well during the night. They were able to adapt quickly to the conditions of the sea and was perfectly escorted by the boat. Each time the swimmers went into the water for a subsequent leg, their average speed increased and they became more and more excited about their collective and cumulative performance.
In the final stretch, they were very happy with their 8 hours 54 minutes crossing. Marcelo finished on Pontal beach and the Jabotis do Sertão relay celebrated their conquest of the largest and most beautiful crossing in Brazil.”
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