Eduardo Daniel Appoloni Rotela Becomes First Swimmer from Uruguay to Complete the Travessia do Leme ao Pontal

Adherbal de Oliveira, President of the Leme to Pontal Swimming Association reported on another historic day from Leme to Pontal, Brazil.

He writes, "The morning of March 4th 2023 began with 35-year-old Eduardo Daniel Appoloni Rotela who became the first Uruguayan swimmer to attempt and complete the 36 km Travessia do Leme ao Pontal. We recently won fourth place in the annual WOWSA Awards in the Event of the Year category which highlights the events in the world that have most positively influenced open water swimming.

Appoloni is a Certified Public Accountant and a former pool swimmer and basketball player who began his career in the open water in 2019. Since then, he has been accumulating experiences and skills. Appoloni is very disciplined and has become a brilliant swimmer who, together with his coach Jorge Mario Gnazzo Orrego, plans each of the challenges he faces step-by-step.

After a year and a half of preparations, Appoloni arrived in Rio de Janeiro accompanied by Lucas Rivet, an experienced swimmer who is responsible for Open Water Argentina (OWA) and his renowned coach Jorge Orrego.

This swim, in particular, had a special symbolism due to the presence of representatives of three South American nations (Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay) in search of a common objective, demonstrating the union of these nations for the development of the South American Triple Crown and of swimming in open water throughout South America.

Appoloni's swim started at Leme Beach at 1:05 am on a hot and starry morning with light winds and small amplitudes of swells. The water was crystal clear, giving him the opportunity to swim and admire the glimmer of plankton in water with a temperature of 26°C.

Everything went well during the first hours of the challenge. Appoloni continued to advance with great joy at an average speed of 3 kph and with a frequency of 58 strokes per minute, always closely accompanied by the LPSA observer Adherbal de Oliveira and the escort boat Soberano do commander Ary da Conceição.

With about 10 km to go before arriving at Pontal Beach, Appoloni had to face stronger winds that made the sea quite wavy. At this point, he began to show signs of tiredness and complained of discomfort due to the effects of salty water in his mouth, a new experience for Appoloni who is used to swimming only in rivers.

But Appoloni was very brave and managed to overcome all odds, completing the 36 km course in 11 hours 25 minutes and 20 seconds as the first Uruguayan swimmer to complete the most popular crossing in South America.

By Steven Munatones.
Southern California native, born 1962, is the creator of the WOWSA Awards, Oceans Seven, Openwaterpedia, Citrus Corps, World Open Water Swimming Association, Daily News of Open Water Swimming, Global Open Water Swimming Conference. He is Chief Executive Officer of KAATSU Global and Editor of the KAATSU Magazine. Inductee in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (Honor Swimmer, Class of 2001) and Ice Swimming Hall of Fame (Honor Contributor - Media, Class of 2019), recipient of the International Swimming Hall of Fame's Poseidon Award (2016), International Swimming Hall of Fame's Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award (2010), Dale Petranech Award for Services to the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (2022), USA Swimming's Glen S. Hummer Award (2007 and 2010), and Harvard University's John B. Imrie Award (1984, awarded to the senior whose interests are not bounded by academic or institutional structures. A joyous, deeply-rooted affirmation of life, disdain for the purely conventional; a love of adventure, and desire to learn by experiencing; the ability to respond creatively to difficult situations). Served on the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee (until 2011) and as Technical Delegate with the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games, a 9-time USA Swimming coaching staff including 4 FINA World Championships, and 2008 NBC Olympic 10K Marathon Swim commentator.


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