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.