Sunday, July 22, 2018

Tomonari Ogino Crosses The Tsugaru Channel

Courtesy of Masayuki Moriya of Ocean Navi, Tsugaru Channel, Japan.

After getting a taste of crossing the 19.5 km Tsugaru Channel on a six-person relay with Team Yajyu (チーム野獣 in Japanese or Team Beast in English) in July 2016, Tomonari Ogino started to think about a solo crossing.

Almost two years to the day, Ogino's dream was realized.

Ogino started late at night (11:43 pm) on the Aomori Prefecture side of the Tsugaru Channel in 21°C water and walked upon the Hokkaido shore at 11:48 am the next day after swimming the second half of the channel in 18°C water. His 12 hour 5 minute 50 second swim was his first major channel crossing.

His success was a long time coming - and not anticipated, at least initially.

"I had swum for about 8 years 5 times per week. I was not [initially[ aiming to cross the Tsugaru Channel, but it was simply to have fun swimming because I liked it. I didn't do much long-distance training for a swim like Tsugaru, but I did not have anxiety and swam with great confidence because I had been swimming for 8 years and I was able to get a start window. I was coached by Ocean Navi coach Masayuki Moriya and all my friends who practice together every morning. I swam so that I could repay everyone's thoughts and support.

I took on the swim in order to learn how to have a heart of gratitude. I try to not forget that feeling in my daily life.

On July 18th at night, I was going to lie down, but I could not get any sleep. We were departing at 11:23 pm from the port and I started at 11:43 pm at the cape.

In our meeting on the previous day, I understood that there may be tidal flow until 5 am at dawn, but after that, the tide will become weak, and it is only about noon that the tide on the Hokkaido side would become strong.

In the beginning, the water temperature was warm and I encountered jellyfish. I was moving down the cape twice at right angles. [The current was so fast that when] a bottle of supplies was thrown in front of the escort boat, in a moment, they were floating behind the boat.

We're going through the tide around the 9 km mark. I was told that I have 5 km left and to swim faster on the right side of the boat. While I was looking at the lighthouse [on land] diagonally on my right, I swam in the horizontal direction against the tide. But the captain was able to pick up the best course. I had a lot of fun making all the pieces work together.

On the right side, I have to check my position relative to the boat. But when I breathed on both sides of the waves, I had a pain in my left arm. [At that time], I thought I had been swimming for an hour, but in fact, I had been swimming for 2 hours.

The water temperature dropped rapidly [near Hokkaido] in the area where the tide flows. It said 18°C on the thermometer, but it felt about 14°C. Finally, I was able to touch the black rock on the right side of the lighthouse on Cape Shirakami and hear the [finish] horn on July 19th.

I wanted to go back to the boat and thank everyone, but I had a sore throat due to the seawater and I don't look good in tears. And I don't even have a voice with cold and fatigue

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Nora Toledano Cadena, Mariel Hawley Set Tsugaru Record

Courtesy of Masayuki Moriya of Ocean Navi in the Tsugaru Channel, Japan.

It was not looking good for Nora Toledano Cadena and Mariel Hawley Dávila, two Mexican swimmers, to be able to attempt a second attempt at crossing the Tsugaru Channel.

The veteran pair of marathon swimmers had been frustrated before when they traveled from their native Mexico City to northern Japan. It seemed like déjà vu and they were being frustrated again by Mother Nature.

Over night, the conditions in the fickle channel suddenly went from impossibly turbulent to possibly doable and the women and their escort pilot Captain Mizushima decided on a risky strategy of departing in the early morning at 1:15 am from Kodomari Benten Cape, a more conservative course on the Kodomari Route.

Masayuki Moriya from Ocean Navi reported, "[Starting area] Aomori was often rough due to a low pressure system that was sweeping through. Nora and Mariel had originally scheduled to depart the previous day on June 30th; fortunately, the weather unexpectedly became settled just before their departure in the morning."

The women didn't sleep well with anxiety, but they were also excited about this small window of opportunity.

They gathered at Tappi Misaki port to meet Captain Mizushima, but a thick bank of fog also greeted them. Then rain began to fall through the darkness. But the wind died and the infamous Tsugaru Current fizzled to nothing.

"What was looking like a disaster of another long trip to Japan where they could not swim turned into a wonderful gift of nature," commented Steven Munatones "The conditions turned out to be the best for channel swimming in a very long time as the current was pushing them towards the opposite shoreline of Hokkaido at up to 5 km per hour."

They arrived in Hokkaido on the small beachfront under the Shirakami Misaki Lighthouse which has traditionally been one of the most difficult points along the Hokkaido shore to finish.

The pair swam stroke-for-stroke the entire course and kept up a blistering pace with the favorable currents.

Ultimately, they stood again on land at 7:36 am, setting a women's record with a fast time of 6 hours 20 minutes 52 seconds.

Toledano, an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming of Hall Class of 2006, said, "The sea was so welcoming. I feel very happy about this experience of being able to cross Tsugaru, now my fifth Oceans Seven channel. It was wonderful having my support team aboard including my son Max López and my mother Dora Cadena, as well as many friends helping us and sending good vibes from afar."

Hawley was equally ecstatic, "Never mind when someone tells you that you are not strong enough to get through a storm, because actually sometimes, one is the fortress battling the storm. We completed the Tsugaru crossing. I entered the sea in Tappi at one in the morning with a deep humility and gratitude. 6 hours and 20 minutes later, I emerged from the water in Hokkaido with Nora together in pure friendship and love that I was able to share in her fifth Oceans Seven swim."

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Watch Nora Toledano, Mariel Hawley Set Tsugaru Record

Courtesy of Masayuki Moriya of Ocean Navi in the Tsugaru Channel, Japan.

For a report on the record-setting 6 hour 20 minute tandem swim by Nora Toledano Cadena and Mariel Hawley Dávila across the Tsugaru Channel in northern Japan from Honshu to Hokkaido, visit here.

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

The Hunt Across Tsugaru Is Over: Success

Courtesy of Masayuki Moriya, Channel Swim Japan, Japan.

Andrew Hunt, a 16-time Australian veteran of the Rottnest Channel Swim in Western Australia, was solid in northern Japan during his 10 hour 52 minute straight-as-can-be crossing of the Tsugaru Channel and the Tsugaru Current between Honshu and Hokkaido.

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Tsugaru For Two + Families

Courtesy of WOWSA, Tsugaru Channel, Japan.

Andrew Hunt, a 16-time Australian veteran of the Rottnest Channel Swim in Western Australia, has set off on his Tsugaru Channel crossing attempt around midnight with his sons Bede and Jasper Hunt on his boat escorted by Captain Mizushima.

The 56-year-old's progress across the 19.5 km channel in northern Japan can be tracked here. Other solo and relay crossings in various Japanese channels are posted on the Channel Swim Japan Facebook page.

Fellow Australian Lynton Mortensen will also attempt his Tsugaru Channel crossing between August 14th - 17th.

"That will be my 6th channel of the Oceans Seven if the planets align and Poseidon plays nice. Cook Strait will be the 7th and last," says the 54-year-old Mortensen who will similarly travel with his 3 children and wife. "[Doing these channels] is a wonderful journey with family and friends and supporters - it is such a privilege to be out there in the blue yonder in my favorite team sport. Being the water with the world swimming tribe is a magical place to be."

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Friday, July 13, 2018

André Wiersig Completes 5th Oceans Seven Channel

Courtesy of André Wiersig in the Tsugaru Channel, Japan.

André Wiersig completed his fifth Oceans Seven channel with a successful 12 hour 55 minute crossing of the Tsugaru Channel in northern Japan.

The German swimmer described his crossing from Honshu to Hokkaido, "The swim was super tough, but I’m so happy and pleased that I made it and could stand all the challenges that day. I am exploring this beautiful country and meeting these lovely people. Everybody is so friendly and trustworthy. Everything is so nice and clean here."

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association