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Triple Crown success for Nathan Payas

Nathan Payas swam the Twenty Bridges challenge around Manhattan Island last weekend and, in doing so, became the first Gibraltarian to complete the gruelling Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming.

Mr Payas had previously swum the Catalina Channel in California and the English Channel and his overall timings put him among top marathon swimmers in the world.

The Gibraltarian swimmer recorded the eighth-fastest time for completing the Triple Crown challenge, with an overall total time of 26:08:51 for the three swims, according to the Longswims Database maintained by the Marathon Swimmers Federation.

Only 185 swimmers in the world have completed the Triple Crown challenge and just 13 swimmers have completed the three swims in under 27 hours.

In the last of his three swims, Mr Payas won the Twenty Bridges Challenge around Manhattan Island last Saturday, covering the 46km course in a time of 7 hours and 21 minutes.

“This swim is deceptively difficult,” he told the Chronicle.

“Although not open ocean, the chop at times can be just as tricky as in the sea and swimming down the Hudson for a number of hours with the wind and waves coming at you, at the end of your swim, is complicated.”

“Also, for a large part of the swim, the salinity of the water is considerably reduced as these are, after all, rivers. This in turn decreases buoyancy and makes swimming harder.”

Mr Payas beat off competition from another 15 swimmers despite suffering a rib injury during training that limited his preparations in the run-up to the event.

And he managed to clock a competitive time despite having to wait, floating, for a ferry to depart shortly after his swim began.
Among his other swimming feats, Mr Payas has also crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and back in a single swim.

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