German extreme swimmer, Andre Wiersig, will attempt to swim from Mahe, the main island of Seychelles, to La Digue, the third most populated island, on April 19, in what is dubbed as the ‘Open Ocean Project.’
This will be the first attempt for a swimmer to cross the water channel, which is over 50km, and will give Wiersig the chance to showcase his courage, immense endurance and mental toughness.
Wiersig told reporters on Monday that he is excited to be in Seychelles for this historical event and that “this is my next contribution to a larger ecological movement and through swimming, I want to inspire others to protect our ocean.”
The 49-year-old open water swimmer said he is looking forward to getting comfortable in the current local climate and is training mentally and physically as part of his preparations for the main event.
Speaking about his preparedness, Wiersig said that nothing brave is easy, adding that this will be a huge challenge as he will have to battle the currents as well as the Seychelles heat during this long swim.
The swimmer and his team are now putting the final touches on the challenge to ensure that they have the best route and conditions for the swim.
The 49-year-old open water swimmer said he is looking forward to getting comfortable in the current local climate. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY
“It takes a lot to prepare for something like this and so I have a team where each person has their specific area of expertise, to ensure safety and the smooth running of all that I do,” he added.
Major concerns raised by Wiersig and his team were the presence of sharks in the Seychelles waters, strong currents in certain areas and of course the effect of the heat. This is why they are still working on getting the best time of day for the swim to take place.
The father of two describes his extreme challenges as self-determined goals, which he achieves through specially developed methods despite his job and family.
“I doing it because I love the open seas and I feel that by doing these challenges, I can also be a voice for the ocean as we raise awareness for the protection of our oceans,” Wiersig added.
Wiersig works as a speaker and trainer for companies, schools and universities, among others. Through his participation in the Open Ocean Project, he aims to promote Seychelles’ efforts for sustainability focusing on the ocean as means of support for the local people and habitat for various species including some endangered ones.
He met with local partners during the week, where they laid out their plans and learned how they will be assisted by the Seychelles Coast Guard, local divers and others.
The German swimmer is expected to be in the water for 12 to 17 hours, leaving Mahe in the early hours of April 19 and arriving at La Digue late that same evening.
Wiersig arrived in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, on April 2. He was welcomed by the director general for Destination Marketing at Tourism Seychelles, Bernadette Willemin, director of the National Sports Council, Alain Alcindor. Also present was Mervin Cedras the chief executive of Tourbookers Seychelles and representatives of the three sports tourism partners organising the swim.
The Open Ocean Project has been initiated by local company Tourbookers and the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), with support from the government of Seychelles and other partners.
Wiersig is the first German swimmer and the 16th overall to complete the Ocean’s Seven, which is a 7-part long-distance swimming challenge for swimmers and considered the mountaineering equivalent of the Seven Summits. The Ocean’s Seven is seen as the greatest challenge in long-distance swimming.
On August 21, 2021, he also became the first person to swim from mainland Germany to the offshore island of Helgoland.