Fresh from Ultraswim33.3 #2Montenegro, founder Mark Turner tells us about this multi-day swimming event that’s fast becoming a highlight on the calendar for swimmers from all over the world
Tell us a bit about your personal experience with swimming?
I swam as a teenager before I joined the Navy, and once again upon returning from the Navy when I attended university. I was certainly a better swimmer 10kg heavier! Since then, for around 30 years I didn’t really swim. Then in 2015 I was living in New Zealand and one of my school friends persuaded me to do my first ever long swim (5k) – until this point I had only swam about 400m. I really enjoyed it and I’ve kept going since then. It’s become my focus and I train in an outdoor pool and I complete in open water.
What is the inspiration behind Ultraswim 33.3?
It was born out of my experience as a competitor in other events and feeling that there was something missing in outdoor swimming. My previous experience developing the Haute Route cycling events is particularly relevant because, like in cycling, there are plenty of holidays and one-day events, but almost no multiday amateur competitive races. In essence, I wanted to take the concept of the Haute Route (now owned by the Ironman Group) and bring it to the world of open-water swimming. It’s a very successful concept, where the multi-day experience just transforms the experience. And 33.3km is the distance of the iconic English Channel crossing… we just do it somewhere warmer and more inviting.
What can swimmers expect from Ultraswim 33.3?
UltraSwim 33.3 is a premium event and we offer consistent quality. We’re creating a bucket list experience. We offer the kind of services you could expect as a professional sports person, from the moment you touch down at the airport, though to how we help you in post-swim recovery, which is fundamental to performance during a multi-day event. Something else that makes our events special, beyond our ambition to help people accomplish their personal goals, is the friendships this creates between the swimmers. That aspect, where everyone is rooting for everyone else, is incredibly special.
What’s your biggest takeaway from #2Montenegro?
My main takeaway from #2Montenegro is that we’ve got the formula right. We created a swimming challenge that was very accessible and very diverse. We had swimmers from all over the world, different cultures, different training regimes, and different speeds, abilities, experience, and confidence. We discovered some incredible backstories. We’ve created a platform that is about helping people move their own lives forward both physically and mentally through the sport of swimming. I’m blown away by the feedback, to be honest.
There are always thing to improve on and no two events will ever be the same – you could argue that’s part of the magic – but what I can say with confidence is that we’ve got the right mix of ingredients to be able to deliver something very powerful for the people who choose to trust us with their swimming dreams.
What are your ambitions for the event moving forward?
UltraSwim 33.3 is set to become a multiple-event series. Our objective is to have an annual calendar of five events by 2025 in different parts of the world, at different times of the year.
How can people enter?
See ultraswim333.com. To enter you need to act fast as we’ll always only have a limited number of places. While we have a minimum speed requirement of 2.5km per hour (in a pool or open water) we find this is achievable for a wide range of swimmers, including one breaststroker this year. The main requirement is the ability to keep pushing on despite fatigue and sometimes tough conditions. We’ve got two events open for next year, with a third one planned. We’re expecting to sell out #3Croatia and #5Montenegro in 2024. Don’t delay!
Ultraswim 33.3 has been awarded the Gold Award by Racecheck, the highest possible accolade for an event. See highlights from Ultraswim33.3 #Montenegro 2023