Hawthorn Swimmers swim Messina Strait

Six mornings a week, the AquaHawks can be found participating in squad training at Hawthorn Aquatic and Leisure Centre (HALC). It was here, over a post swim coffee, that the challenge began… “Why don’t we swim from Sicily to Italy?” 

A self-organised group of swimmers, the AquaHawks spent two years planning before embarking on the swim of a lifetime in October this year. The Straits of Messina separate mainland Italy from the island of Sicily and have long been famed for their changing tides, currents and whirlpools.

The currents alternate every six hours and there are change in wave patterns that can be seen from space, which can make for a very dangerous crossing. Meaning that the swim crossing was only possible with the authority of the Port of Messina, which prescribes the dates and times of the swim in compliance with local and international regulations.

At 10:00am on October 3rd, the AquaHawks hit the Straits, clad in specially designed colourful team bathers and a support boat from the Italian Coast Guard in tow. In groups of 3-4 they left behind the rocky shores of Sicily and headed for the mainland.

Within an hour every swimmer had successfully crossed the Straits, met with cheers of celebration as they emerged from the water.

The group are already looking for their next destination, and some more members! Join them at session at HALC and find out what’s next!

The AquaHawks are swim squad members at HALC. These swimmers train in coached sessions from 6:00 to 7:00am on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays; 7:00am to 8:30am on Saturday mornings. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings an informal squad is run, open to 'all comers and all abilities’. Some members of the group have been swimming together for over 25 years.

For further details on swimming the Messina Straits refer Luciano Vetri (http://lucianovietri.com