609 in 2015 and later

648 past in 2015 (updated 17-07-'15)

The day I swam from Europe to Asia

Some say that you can’t call yourself a true open water swimmer until you’ve conquered the Hellespont. Steeped in mythology, history, literature and geographical significance, this crossing from Europe to Asia is considered by many to be the ultimate open water swim.

The renown of this enchanting stretch of water goes way back. According to Greek mythology, the lovestruck Leander, a young man from Abydos on the Asian side of the Hellespont, would swim across the strait every night to spend time with his lover, Hero, a priestess of Aphrodite who dwelt in a tower in Sestos on the European side. Each night, Hero would light a lantern to guide Leander in his mission through the formidable waters, and every morning before sunrise, Leander would return home. Because who needs sleep when you have love?

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