Want to stay motivated this winter? Sign up for the UltraSwim 33.3 in Croatia or Montenegro

1 comentario

Hi Niklas,

I am entering for Croatia in May but have yet to pay for this and was speaking to Suzie direct, can you advise how i could be included in your offer for this:
A free pair of THEMAGIC5 Goggles
A free entry to win the discovery bundle. Only people who sign up during this promotion period are entering this draw.
UltraSwim 33.3 Cozy Hat (Picture Below)

I already have 4 pairs of your fantastic goggles but would definitely like a purple or yellow gold pair to add to my collection.

Thank you

Andy (No 199 from Montenegro)

Andrew Griffiths 02 noviembre, 2023

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Staying motivated to swim through the colder, darker winter months can be a struggle for even the most water-loving and passionate swimmers—but the right incentive can make winter seem like an opportunity. For Niklas Hedegaard, that incentive was the UltraSwim 33.3.

NEW CHALLENGE

The UltraSwim 33.3 is an open water swimming adventure event that covers the 33.3km distance of the English Channel over a period of 4 days and 6 swims in the coastal waters of Croatia or Montenegro. As one of the founders of THEMAGIC5, Hedegaard was very familiar with swimming but, he stresses: pool swimming. “I was a good pool swimmer but I had never done anything remotely like that in open water. The 10 km day made me nervous,” he says. “I was also really nervous because I have a full time job and, although I swam in the past, my preparation wasn’t great. At maximum I did 3 swims a week, about 3 km per session. I only did 2 training sessions in open water. I was nervous about the water temperature too, whether I should swim with or without a wetsuit. It was all unfamiliar territory.”

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!”

LET’S SWIM 

The first day started with two swims, a 4 km followed by a second breakfast, and then a 5 km after. The second day also consisted of two swims, a 7.5 km and 1.9 km; the third day was the big single swim 10 km day with an option to swim it as a sanctioned marathon; and the final day was a one-stage 6.3 km. Each day started between 7-8 am and every day was finished by lunch leaving a lot of time to recover, mingle, and spend time with family. 

“The most amazing moment was on the second day. Not being experienced, on the first day I didn’t realize drafting was a real thing. On the second day, I followed the feet of an experienced swimmer. I could relax and enjoy the experience. At the first aid station, the 57 year-old guy saw how much younger I was and he was so happy. He was so strong. At 7.5km he just pulled away from me.”

The camaraderie between the different participants there was something to note. Another athlete Niklas met shared his story with us and how he took on this challenge with little swimming background. Check out Rob Christie's perspective of UltraSwim 33.3 after just turning 50 this year!

Hedegaard says it wasn’t all easy and relaxed—but swimming 33.3 km in open water over 4 days shouldn’t be. “The last kilometer on the 10km day, I was over it. It was a patch against the current and it never seemed to end. The buoy marking the final 100m never seemed to come. I was alone, I wasn’t getting caught or catching up,” he says, the battle still in his voice. “But I got through it and, you know how it is, after a good lunch I was fine,” he laughs.

MORE THAN 33.3KM 

In the end, Hedegaard finished 4th in the skins (non-wetsuit category). “I had a total time of 8 hours and 10 minutes. The final swimmer took 15:30. 120 started and 110 finished. One woman did everything breaststroke because that’s how she was comfortable.”

“My pace varied from 1:07 to 2:09,” he says. “The slow sections against the current sucked but it’s part of it. The pace isn’t important and I liked that. There wasn’t a focus on times or stroke counts. It was much more, go and see how you land—an adventure.”

“It was my first open water experience so the community was something I hadn’t experienced. Some people wanted to swim fast but most were just there to have fun, meet new people. I felt like I was in a time pocket. Everything outside stood still and I could just focus on swimming and being with friends, and enjoy a really cool experience. It might be the most effective way to switch off from daily life and relax for a holiday.”

With a holiday baked into a big swimming adventure, Hedegaard says he is looking forward to doing more long distance open water swimming and that idea is making the prospect of winter swimming a lot more exciting. 

Sign Up For UltraSwim 33.3 This Winter

Sign Up In The Next 33 Days (Starting November 1st) To Claim Our Special Offer:
  • A free pair of THEMAGIC5 Goggles
  • A free entry to win the discovery bundle. Only people who sign up during this promotion period are entering this draw.
  • UltraSwim 33.3 Cozy Hat (Picture Below)

Stay Motivated This Winter With Our Special Offer (USE CODE: 33MAGIC)

( 1 ) Comments

Hi Niklas,

I am entering for Croatia in May but have yet to pay for this and was speaking to Suzie direct, can you advise how i could be included in your offer for this:
A free pair of THEMAGIC5 Goggles
A free entry to win the discovery bundle. Only people who sign up during this promotion period are entering this draw.
UltraSwim 33.3 Cozy Hat (Picture Below)

I already have 4 pairs of your fantastic goggles but would definitely like a purple or yellow gold pair to add to my collection.

Thank you

Andy (No 199 from Montenegro)

Andrew Griffiths

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