Courtesy of WOWSA, Lampedusa, Italy to Mahdia, Tunisia.

After Nejib Belhedi completed an unprecedented 120 km swim between in September 2018 from Sfax to Djerba in Tunisia in 76 hours 30 minutes, he could have easily retired on his laurels.

But the heart surgery bypass survivor wanted something more.

So he is planning to swim 141 km from the island of Lampedusa, Italy to the Mahdia coastline of Tunisia next year as a symbolic swim that will help encourage the stream of immigrants from North Africa to the European continent to think about establishing peace and prosperity in their own native lands. “The swim is in the reverse direction of the immigration flow and can symbolize a harmonious and global defense policy of Tunisia,” says Belhedi, a former special operations office and Lieutenant Colonel in the Tunisian Army. “Swims like this can lubricate the machine of peace and prosperity between countries.”

Belhedi’s 141 km Speedo Diplomacy cross-border swim between Europe and Africa is expected to take over 80 hours and is scheduled for the first half of September 2019 with the support of the Tunisian Armed Forces. If successful, Belhedi will be 67 years old at the time of his Italy-to-Tunisia attempt that would be the longest sea swim in terms of duration.

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