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Record numbers take part in Peru’s Mancora to Vichayito Crossing

Over 200 swimmers took part in this year’s Mancora to Vichayito Crossing in the North Sea of Peru.

Ismael Merino organised the first Mancora to Vichayito Crossing in 2010 for a group of friends, alongside Miguel Dammert and Alvaro del Pozo. Ever since, the crossing has taken place on the last Saturday of September.

The 6km route follows the coast from Mancora fishing dock to Vichayito Beach, and has two categories: with fins and without. This year, the fastest swimmer came in at 1 hour 14 minutes, and the longest at 3 hours 10 minutes.

“Amidst the pandemic, open water swimming grew impressively across Peru,” said Ana Elisa Sotelo van Oordt, the documentary photographer and filmmaker who captured this year’s swim. “Last year, the Mancora to Vichayito Crossing had a record number of 108 participants from across the country.” This year marked the 13th crossing, and 205 swimmers signed up, nearly doubling last year’s record.

“I organise this crossing for swimmers to have fun and swim in one of the best seas there is, the North Sea of Peru,” said Merino. “The crossing occurs during humpback whale mating season and swimmers enjoy watching whales and a variety of sea life along the way.”

“The atmosphere is very festive!” Ana told us. “People come in from all over Peru and take it as a long weekend to spend some time on the north shore of Peru. The water is a lovely 21ºC and you get see humpback whales, whale sharks and all sorts of birds.”

Ana captured these incredible photographs of this year’s event.

Photos by Ana Elisa Sotelo van Oordt. You can also follow Ana via her Instagram. Find out more about the Mancora to Vichayito Crossing. For more swim events around the world, check out our ‘events’ page.

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Jo is the Gear Editor for Outdoor Swimmer and also writes news and features for the website. A keen open water swimmer and long-distance walker, she loves seeking out lakes and lidos close to her home in the Mendip Hills, Somerset. She is the author of The Slow Traveller, editor and founder of independent magazine, Ernest, and has previously tested outdoor clothing and kit for BBC Countryfile Magazine, BBC Focus and Ernest Journal.