Romanian librarian Avram Iancu of Petrosani successfully swam the English Channel solo dressed just in a bathing suit and a swimming cap, no neoprene suit, at the end of an almost 18-hour endeavour that ended on Monday night.
Iancu managed the feat in his fourth attempt, after his previous attempts over the past two years failed and had to abandon the swim because of waves or weather that would have endangered his life.
‘ On August 7, 2014 I became the first Romanian to dear swim the frozen waters of the English Channel officially and by the book, that being a first for Romania. (…) Yesterday [Monday] the final battle was waged! I’ve won! – after swimming 62 km in 18 hours of gruesome physical and especially mental exertion, I slayed the beast [the English Channel]. (…) Now that the only Romanian national flag flew permanently at the mast on its way to France, I am glad to return to Romania, my home country, where I was born – in Petrosani, and raised, a county that I will never abandon, a country for which I will fight, work and that I will build with my humble contribution alongside other Romanians. Last, but not least, I want to thank God for having allowed me to win. Long live Romania!’ Iancu says in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
Iancu’s last attempt was not lacking for drama, as he was initially scheduled to traverse the English Channel this July, than rescheduled for the first half of August. Bad weather did not allow Iancu to swim the channel, and so he had to return to Romania. On Saturday, he went back to the UK so that he may swim the English Channel on Monday.
Iancu said his action was also in support of a national fundraiser for the acquisition of Constantin Brancusi’s sculpture “Wisdom of the Earth.”
‘This year, I have swum 11-12 hours continuously for various humanitarian causes, including for an elderly home in Petrosani and for a little girl with serious health issues from Bumbesti Jiu. Now, I want to swim for a national symbol, for Constantin Brancusi and his work ‘Wisdom of the Earth.’ The fundraiser makes me happy, and I am wholeheartedly supporting it, because my idea to traverse the English Channel was animated by deep-seated patriotism,’ Iancu said back in July.
Iancu attempted for the fourth time to swim the English Channel dressed only in a swimming suit and a swimming cap, as required by the Channel Swimming Association (CSA) for the swim to be ratified.
His previous attempts in August and October 2014, then in August 2015 to swim the channel not dresses in a neoprene suit were all unsuccessful. He failed just some kilometres away from the French shores as organisers told him to stop the race because of strong waves and currents that would have endangered his life.
Iancu is expected back to Romania on Wednesday, lending at Timisoara Airport.
Since the first successful swim of the English Channel in 1875, only 1,386 people have managed to pull out the feat solo, according to the CSA webpage.