Swimming across the English Channel for Ogyre.
How far can your love for the sea take you? Francesca Arese Lucini has brought her connection with the water into a personal challenge: swimming across the English Channel and raising funds to support Ogyre. Alongside her is a group of friends united by the same passion and the desire to embark on a great adventure. We asked her a few questions to get to know her better and to have her explain this remarkable feat in more detail.
Ogyre: How did the idea of swimming across the English Channel come about?
Francesca: I started swimming when I started walking. For me, the sea has never been a mysterious and distant place, but it has always been a part of me. That being said, I didn't even know that there were people crazy enough to want to swim across the Channel, let alone think that I could be one of them! I had always wanted to take on a challenging swim, like crossing the Channel, which is the busiest channel in the world, without a wetsuit, probably starting at night. It's definitely a demanding task. So, when a friend of my sister asked me to swim the Channel, I didn't hesitate for a second, but I had no idea what it truly meant. To be honest, the idea came about with a lot of naivety; I only realized what swimming the Channel really entailed afterwards... and at that point, partly out of pride and partly as a challenge, I couldn't say no anymore!
Ogyre: How are you preparing for this endeavor?
Francesca: In September, I slowly added swimming in the pool to my workout routine, just to get back into the rhythm. Fortunately, I swam a lot as a child, so my technique was already quite good. However, I needed to work on my speed and the length of my swims. In January, I started swimming almost exclusively and joined a triathlon training group (only for swimming, of course), which involved training 3-4 times a week, always in the pool. The workouts included drills, HIIT, and long swims to improve both my breathing and physical performance, as well as my speed. In April, when the English Channel's water temperature rose above 10 degrees, I incorporated a weekly open water swim. Of course, without a wetsuit, without music, and unfortunately, very often without sunshine!
Ogyre: What is your relationship with the ocean?
Francesca: I have always been very fortunate since I was a child. Thanks to my parents, who are both true lovers of the sea, my sisters and I had the opportunity to travel to extraordinary places around the world, typically in coastal destinations. So, beach vacations have always been a time to spend with family, and once I reached university, my group of friends, who share the same passion for summer by the sea, started organizing sailing holidays in August, where we enjoy sailing together in the Mediterranean. In transmitting his passion for the sea, my father also taught me how to scuba dive, which I still love to do. Together, we have seen incredible places and stunning animals, some more rare than others. Every time I dive, I always hope that this underwater world can be something that future generations are lucky enough to experience. When you're underwater, you truly feel part of the marine world, you understand how much nature needs to be respected, and it's an incredible sensation that I have never experienced in any other way. You realize that you're really small in an immense world, and you're fortunate to be a guest in a magical world that is still waiting to be discovered.
Ogyre: What are you seeking in this experience?
Francesca: Not to freeze to death!!! Jokes aside, I have always enjoyed challenging myself, doing something a little different, living an adventure, and crossing the English Channel is all of that. Since it's a unique experience, we thought of raising funds from those close to us, each of us swimmers for a cause dear to our hearts. Being able to help clean the seas is definitely a great mission, and being able to participate in such a grand and essential vision for us and future generations is something that fills me with pride.
Ogyre: Do you already have the next venture in mind?
Francesca: Absolutely, many of them! But in terms of swimming, I would love to swim across the Strait of Gibraltar; it has always been my ultimate goal! The idea of swimming to another continent fascinates me like crazy!! And of course, the idea of having a few degrees warmer water and a bit more sunshine never hurts.
You can support Francesca's project and her friends by donating directly to the dedicated crowdfunding campaign.