Nejib Belhedi completes new ‘Iron Swim’ challenge

Tunisian swimmer Nejib Belhedi has set himself the ambitious challenge of towing a 100 tonne boat for 1km while swimming. Last weekend (26 March 2016) he took another step towards completing that goal by towing a 23 tonne boat a distance of 500m in water of just 12 degrees. Remarkably, the swim took only 23 minutes to complete. In addition, the boat was carrying 30 passengers, including members of the local football team, the Tabarka Sportive Coral Club.

Nejib describes these boat towing challenges as ‘Iron Swims’. He swims with a rope tied around his waist and attached to the boat. In this instance the swim took place within the port area of Tabarka, close to the border with Algeria. For the first part of the swim Nejib benefitted from a favourable swim but when his route turned through 90 degrees he had to deal with a cross wind that pushed the boat to the south.

“The wind felt like it was pulling me away from my course and onto the concrete breakwater of the port,” says Nejib. “It’s like the wind is trying to defy you but I was able to fight on despite my arms becoming so tired they could barely clear the water.”

Throughout the swim, the public were able to walk alongside and Nejib describes how he could feel their energy and support, and that helped him to complete the swim.

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I created Outdoor Swimmer in 2011 (initially as H2Open Magazine) as an outlet for my passion for swimming outdoors. I've been a swimmer and outdoor swimmer for as long as I remember. Swimming has made a huge difference to my life and I want to share its joys and benefits with as many people as possible. I am also the author of Swim Wild & Free: A Practical Guide to Swimming Outdoors 365 a Year and I provide one-to-one support to swimmers through Swim Mentoring.