WELCOME TO MONTENEGRO
With as much preparation as he could manage, Hedegaard took his partner and nerves to Montenegro. “The scenery was amazing, just perfect for open water swimming—crystal clear water. A lot of people think about Croatia for swimming and Montenegro, just across the border, is just as beautiful.”
Immediately, Hedegaard said many of his uncertainties were laid to rest. The water was a comfortable 23 degrees so he decided to swim without a wetsuit. The event is fully coordinated so transfer, accommodation, and food were all organized. The race organizers had a meeting before each day to explain where and when to meet, the course, buoy markers, aid stations, where and when family could access the spectator boat, and safety considerations.
“There were 80 staff members for 120 swimmers. A lot of the staff were on kayaks for safety. They have a rule that you are never more than 50m to a kayak and they took that safety aspect seriously. Everyone had a tracker in their tow float and they would use walkie-talkies to direct the kayaks.”
The only thing that caught Hedegaard off guard? “I didn’t use vaseline on the first day and it was a big mistake! I didn’t realize you can get chaffing without a wetsuit. After day one it was a battle to use enough. Next time,” he laughs, “more vaseline!”