After becoming only the 4th woman to complete the Oceans 7 Challenge - swimming seven of the world's iconic open water swims, including the English Channel and the North Channel - Abhejali Bernardová from our Czech Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team has now been nominated for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year. Abhejali completed her seventh and final swim this year on February 24, 2018, by conquering the Cook Strait between the North and South Island of New Zealand in quite challenging conditions. Voting is open to the public until January 1 2019, and can be accessed here.
Her nomination reads: Abhejali Bernardová is a peace ultrarunner (6-day runs + 24-hour runs + 100 km runs) turned swimmer who promotes endurance sports and self-transcendence via media appearances and speeches to the public and at school. The member of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team became the 4th woman to complete the Oceans Seven. After achieving the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming, she crossed the English Channel (14 hours 37 minutes), Strait of Gibraltar (4 hours 35 minutes), Catalina Channel (9 hours 46 minutes), Tsugaru Channel (11 hours 7 minutes), Molokai Channel (21 hours 52 minutes), North Channel (10 hours 23 minutes), and Cook Strait (13 hours 9 minutes) between the ages of 34 and 41 to become the first person from the Czech Republic - a landlocked country - to swim across 7 iconic channels, all successful on her first attempt. She organized a record number of swimmers in a new popular 6-hour pool swim in the Czech Republic shortly after her last channel swim. She teaches about the importance of a calm mind for success in the open water and on dryland. For being a Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team ambassador who achieved the Oceans Seven, for continuing to serve as a peace runner, race director and an organizer of extreme sports that gives others an opportunity to experience their own challenges under safe conditions, and for lending a helping hand and friendly smile with a passion for long distance swimming as a mentor for people of all ages and abilities, Abhejali Bernardová of the Czech Republic is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
Other nominees include such distinguished marathon swimmers as Pat Gallant-Charette (67), cold-water swimmer Jaimie Monahan and multiple world champion Ana Marcela Cunha for the women's award, or United Nations Environment Patron of the Oceans Lewis Pugh and trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific stage swimmer Ben Lecomte for the men's award.
Question (from interview on Daily News of Open Water Swimming): During your Oceans Seven channel swims, what point did you feel the absolute worse? How did you overcome this situation?
Abhejali: It was during the Molokai Channel crossing. The swim started at around 5 pm, it got dark by 7 pm, and I started to be really seasick. We arrived just 3 days prior to the swim - it was before my swim period, so I was tired and jet lagged on top of being seasick and depleted. After being seasick for quite a few hours, I asked how far we were. I usually don't do it, or much later, but I felt so exhausted physically - we also had to battle some strong current at the beginning of the swim. I was told we are not yet in the middle. I remember thinking that some miracle will have to happen for me to have enough physical strength to continue for another maybe 10 hours - it turned out to be much more. The team on the boat notified our friends around the world and they all ate on my behalf, sent their good wishes and prayers. Once the sun came out after maybe 12 hours of darkness, I was fine and could start eating. When all seemed back to normal I got badly stung by a jellyfish and then there was another strong current that had us moving only 1 mile per hour, but the worst was past. Read full interview »