Michele Barbucia Wins, Ned Denison Swims The Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli

Courtesy of Ned Denison, Capri Island to Napoli, Italy.

Last week, Arianna Bridi of Italy and Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil made history by beating all the professional marathon swimming men in the 36 km Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli, a 36 km race between Capri Island to Napoli in Italy.

In one of the famous professional races in the world as part of the FINA UltraMarathon Swim Series, the female duo’s performances followed victories over the years by famed swimmers such as John Kinsella, Claudio Plit, Petar Stoychev, Veljko Rogošić, Paul Asmuth, Alfredo Camarero Yuri Kudinov, Nasser Elshazly, Nabil Elshazly, and many others.

But with the addition of an amateur race yesterday along the same 36 km course, another luminary from the aquatic world entered the waters off Capri: International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame chairperson Ned Denison.

The 62-year-old stood on the shores of Capri surrounded by others less than half his age. But age was not his biggest obstacle; Denison simply did not have much time to train due to the lockdown in Ireland and his inability to get into the sea or pools. But he flew from Cork, Ireland to Italy and he gave it a good shot.

These were his recollections from the September 10th event, “I always thought that the Capri to Naples swim was one of the most iconic professional marathon swimming races. I met the organiser last year International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Administrator Luciano Cotena at his IMSHOF induction in Melbourne, Australia. In making pleasant conversation he asked, ‘Why don’t you come swim in my event?’ I immediately said yes which I think he didn’t expect.

So [I faced a] 36 km 10-hour cut-off time without training for 8 weeks this spring due to COVID lockdown and postponement from June. I swam yesterday 34.7 km and was pulled at 10 hours and 13 minutes. The Port Authorities make these decisions. In fairness, I always knew that my speed would probably not get me in on time – but a disappointment.

This left the one action which I have tried to train for my whole life: exit with class.

[I climbed] into the boat quietly, thanked all on board, thanked all the organizers on shore, checked on the health of the swimmer who retired next to me at 5 hours and was happy.

Everyone wanted me to complete [the race] and it was only my speed that failed on the day.

I leave with good memories and hope their memory of my exit left a good impression.”

Solo Results:
1. Michele Barbucia (Italy): 8 hours 5 minutes 10 seconds
2. Laura Volpi (ITA): 8 hours 7 minutes 24 seconds
OTL Ned Denison (Ireland), pulled at 10 hours 13 minutes
DNF Jose Sanz (Spain)
DNF Maurizio Mastrorilli (Italy)
Relay Results:
1. Thebris Swimming PG (Italy): 6 hours 58 minutes 30 seconds
2. Sorrento Infinity (Italy): 7 hours 16 minutes 36 seconds
3. C.N. Posillipo (Italy): 7 hours 17 minutes 11 seconds

Denison interviewed Cotena on a June 22nd episode of WOWSA Live:

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