A lawyer of the Commission on Elections assigned in Bohol has set a new record by swimming non-stop and unassisted 24.65 kilometers from Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental to the province of Siquijor Wednesday.
Ingemar Macarine, the election officer of Tubigon, Bohol, took off early Wednesday morning at Silliman Beach in Dumaguete City and swam for 11 hours and 21 minutes, arriving at the Tambisan Port in San Juan, Siquijor before sundown.
The pioneering swim is to promote voters' registration being conducted by the Comelec for the upcoming October 29 Sangguniang Kabataan and barangay elections as well as for cleaner seas.
Macarine described Wednesday's swim as “the most difficult swim ever”, and it had crossed his mind many times to abandon it as the waters turned choppy while midway towards Siquijor.
During a press conference Tuesday, Macarine said his swim time and direction will depend on the direction of the current, and during Wednesday's swim, the strong current was towards Mindanao.
He aimed for the municipality of Enrique Villanueva but reached San Juan town in Siquijor instead.
The lawyer said he broke his personal record of 23 kilometers when he attempted to swim from Visayas to Mindanao last May 2014.
The 40-year old official, who hails from Plaridel in Surigao del Norte and who had studied Political Science at Silliman University in Dumaguete City, has a long list of achievements locally and abroad, being an open water swimmer.
He's been swimming like this for four years and he says this is a sport that not too many people are enthusiastic about, most likely because of fear of sharks.
But Macarine said that he has not encountered sharks and does not fear them, saying they do not usually attack swimmers unless “you're bleeding”.
In the Philippines, he says there is less than 10 of them open water swimmers, and there is no organization that governs the “sport”, unlike in other countries.
The “Pinoy Aquaman” says it takes sheer guts and courage to brave the seas, and proper preparation to be able to accomplish every attempt.
He swims non-stop, with nobody else in the water but him, and only takes about two seconds every 30 minutes for his energy drink.
Macarine took a light breakfast before conquering Siquijor because he says it is bad to swim on a full stomach.
He wore a pair of swimming trunks, goggles and sunblock, and nothing else.
He said he swims mostly free-style but there are no rules on how to swim or float, in his case, so long as he reaches his destination unaided.
When asked what has pushed him to do this, he replied that he was encouraged to do something different and difficult to attract people to support his advocacies.
He says he is surprised no one has followed in his footsteps, as yet.
His wife, two children and his parents pray three days ahead of a swim, and there were times that they would ask him not to, Macarine said.*JFP
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