I won my challenge: swimming around the island of Elba

I won my challenge: swimming around the island of Elba

My name is Riccardo Galesso and I am 21 years old. On 20 May 2024, I set off to swim around the island of Elba, swimming up to 12 hours a day, for five days, without ever touching land (sleeping on a sailboat).

I am a 21-year-old boy. 3 years ago I went through a dark period during covid, let myself go and became obese, weighing over 107kg.

I rediscovered my potential and then became passionate about motivation.
These are some of the challenges I faced:

When I was 18, I ran a 50km ultramarathon without training.
When I was 19, I towed a car with a rope, with three people inside for a half marathon (21.1km).
At the age of 19, I also completed a full Ironman distance (3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42.2km run) with a month's training, swimming 700m more (4.5km).
I raced down a ski slope at night in the snow, skis loaded on my back. I then skied down.
I ran 6.4km every four hours for 48 hours straight.
I obtained my black belt in judo by finishing in the top 7 at the 2022 Italian Judo Championships.

I also tried in 2023 to swim around the island of Elba, but unfortunately I had to retire after swimming the first day 11 hours.

This year I tried again, leaving on 20 May 2024. This time without ever touching the ground.
I was accompanied by a dinghy provided by Vittorio of Margidore Yacht Club, with Marcello Giovannini and Manuel Gecele on board.
Marcello also comes from endurance sports, in fact he walked 24 hours in a row around a lake in 2023, and we have a great feeling.
Manuel, on the other hand, is an excellent mechanic with an excellent ability to drive the dinghy.

The alarm clock was at 04:00 in the morning, and I would then leave around 05:00-05:30 to swim for up to 12 hours a day straight.
In the evening we returned to the harbour, where I boarded the sailing boat 'Valeilasail' with the fantastic Marina, Stefano, Valerio, Leilani and Rune.

In the morning, I would be on the bow of the sailboat, where I would be picked up by dinghy and taken to the spot where we had stopped the previous day. In this way, I completed the circumnavigation without ever touching land, with some stomach aches due to the swaying and the constant standing on the surface of the sea without ever touching land.

On the first day, we set off from Marina di Campo, arriving as far as S. Andrea.
On the second day, we continued until we reached Bagnaia, after Portoferraio. On the third day up to Rio Marina, with great difficulty due to strong adverse current. On the fourth day up to Punta dei Ripalti, again with an adverse current, and on the fifth day we returned as far as Marina di Campo.

On the second day, we cut from Marciana Marina to Capo d'Enfola, passing 3 km off the coast. In this and several other cuts we made, swimming very far out to sea, we used a rod with a line tied to the end. At the end of this line we attached some carabiners so that the line sank slightly underwater.
Marcello held the rod, while Manuel followed the right direction with the dinghy. In this way I managed to keep going, swimming while only looking at the carabiners, trusting my companions, without wasting time raising my head to see if I was following the right direction. The idea came from Vittorio, who took it from Nyad's feat.

In total I encountered about 45 jellyfish, and was stung by one in the ear on the first day. I also swam with a shark, and met five dolphins and a moray eel.

The aim of the challenge is to see what a human being is capable of doing, with faith, perseverance and discipline, trying to show how anyone can realise their dreams if they really believe in them.
Moreover, the challenge is done for charity.

The whole challenge is documented with videos on my socials, YouTube and Instagram, where I put all the results of these challenges.
Instagram: riccardo.galesso
Youtube: Riccardo Galesso

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