Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits!
Romano Mombelli – swimming talent
True to this motto Romano Mombelli left the safe place of the official swimming pools to test his mental and physical skills within the infinity of open waters. The constant fight against the forces of nature on the one hand and the synthesis with those on the other represents for him the maximum of what an aquatic challenge could be – especially when it comes to the point to master these external factors but also to keep the physical balance.
These strains are being rewarded by the unique feeling of the successfull implementation of a project and of course the memorable experiences in pristine and primeval nature.
In order to continue to benefit from such a unique emotion he has therefore set himself an ambitious goal. The crossing of the Ocean’s Seven, the seven most legendary and challenging straits on our planet!
The project Jura lakes is a pioneer project in open water swimming. Romano Mombelli swims from Murten via Yverdon-les-Bains to Solothurn. A distance of over 100 km in four stages in the waters of the Jura. The athlete must grow beyond his personal limits in order to succeed in the crossing under difficult conditions.
The power of endurance plays a central role as the swimming distances amount per stage is between 9-44 km and due to the choppy sea, winds and currents the distance can vary. Fortis is very proud to sponsor him with the Marinemaster out of our Aquatis collection.
At the finish line after 105 kilometer and 4 days:
„Now I`m whacked!“ says Romano Mombelli when he stepped out of the Aare-River and sat down. No great rejoicing, not even a smile. Just sitting there on the bottom step of the stairs. That way the extreme swimmer enjoyed his success. Only after a few minutes, life seems to return: “When you arrive, a dream extinguishes. The joy comes two or three days later.“
The Aare-River was enormously helpful: The last of the four stages of its swimming adventure was actually only the dessert: from Biel to Solothurn the current of the Aare-River tore so fast that he arrived two hours earlier at the finish than it was originally planned.
Mombelli swam 105 km in four days. Twelve hours and ten minutes he spent alone in the cold waters of Lake Neuchatel. Why does a 23 year old man do such a thing? “It was my dream to swim from Yverdon to Solothurn” explains Mombelli, which is actually not to explain. Three to four times per hour the open water swimmer got catered with gels and drinks that were handed to him by a rope from one of the two support boats. touching one of the boats or the land would immediately mean to fail. Now Mombelli will reward himself. “In the next few days I’ll eat well and do nothing. Not only gel and glucose, now it must be something unhealthy. ““We live in such a beautiful region. You don`t need to always travel to distant countries, “the extreme swimmer sums up his mission: “My concern is not only about proving that I can do it. I want to show people that there are many beautyful places to experience at home. “So the project with the three lakes arose. “And then I also wanted to my swim home.”
But it was not all joy. “When I had to wait in Neuchâtel ten minutes at a buoy because of the Joran – a typicall Jura-Wind – blew so hard, it was a difficult moment. But that’s the challenge.”
Next goal: Ocean`s Seven
It is not the Ocean’s Eleven, it is the Ocean’s Seven that impresses him. Of the seven extreme straits open water swimmers are interested in, Romano Mombelli already swum the Strait of Gibraltar. Next, the English Channel could be in his focus, but he don`t wants to define anything yet, that soon after the realization of a dream.
Strait of Gibraltar (Ocean’s Seven): Swiss record
Distance: 21 km
Time: 3 hrs. 58 min.
Between the legendary Pillars of Hercules the ancient Greeks once suspected the end of the world. For Romano, however, the strait, which separates Africa from Europe and the Atlantic Ocean from the Mediterranean Sea, it was the beginning of a new career section. Here he sparked, surrounded by numerous gigantic oil tankers, his love for open-water swimming. Despite adverse water temperatures and strong currents, which forced him to detours for more than five kilometers, he mastered the distance from Tarifa to Morocco being the youngest and fastest Swiss ever, whereby the first stage of the Oceans Seven has been already successfully completed.
Kaiwi-Channel (Ocean’s Seven):
Distance: 44-55 km
Time: Break after accident with jellyfish poisoning and paralysis
On the other side of the globe Romano graduated his most extensive, although not successful, project. Between the two Hawaiian Islands Moloka’i and O’ahu he wanted to swim across the Kaiwi Channel, which comes up with strong currents, huge waves and with a rich fauna. The latter was the reason the project, which was held by a professional film crew under the SRF-documentary series Summer Challenge, failed. After a few kilometers he swam into a field full of Portuguese Jellyfish. Wounded by mass, enormously painful poison bites, Romano had to finally break with palsy phenomena and disturbances in consciousness the crossing after a hard fight. But after the initial disappointment he could draw valuable experiences from this project. So the overwhelming power of nature he experienced was led into a painful lesson in mind. This awareness, Romano helped to complete the challenges as a better swimmer and more mature personality. Those attributes will be useful to him even when he returnes to Hawaii, because despite the unfortunate experiences Romano is firmly convinced that he would be reconciled with the Kaiwi Channel in some time.
Lake Brienz: World record
Distance: 14 km
Time: 3 hrs. 18 min.
In the shadow of the impressive mountain ranges of the Bernese Oberland and past the picturesque Giessbach falls Romano Mombelli challenged his second big open-water project. Although the crossing of lake Brienz was initially planned only as a preparation for his second Ocean’s Seven stage, the project has developed into one of the sporting highlights of his career. That was not only owed to the impressive alpine atmosphere but primarily his personal success. He arrived in Brienz with a new record time, swimming the chilly waters against the current.
Strait of Bonifacio: World record
Distance: 16 km
Time: 3 hrs. 40 min.
After the disappointment in Hawaii Romano again more quickly than expected gained back the passion for his sport. So he tackled the crossing of the area between Corsica and Sardinia Strait of Bonifacio. Seafarers know how notorious for changing weather, strong currents and the many stone clods, the strait is – extremely challenging even for swimmers. Despite autumnal season he benefited at the start in Sardinia of excellent external conditions. So the arrival in Corsica turned out to be a milestone in his career, but also generally across the open water swimming sport. His passing time undercut all previous times significantly, what made Romano setting the world record on this passage. Even though the title world record holder may sound nice, it gave him no reason to rest on its laurels. Rather, it motivated him to tackle other challenges, which is why it can be assumed that the Strait of Bonifacio was not the end of his success.
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