The participants in the Swim Against Plastic, Riviera Maya, in their own words.
How does swimming relate to plastic pollution?
We decided to find a new way to fulfill our mission and communicate our message about plastic pollution to the public from a sports perspective. We want to connect people around the world to this problem, in a positive way. In the past, sports have opened the doors to conversation on highly controversial issues, and the response has often been warm and rewarding. So Plastic Oceans thought why not take a similar approach with environmental issues? We started this effort with the inaugural Swim Against Plastic in March of 2019, when we ventured to iconic Easter Island, which resulted in a world-record swim by South African endurance Athlete, Sarah Ferguson.
Everyday more and more is heard about the problems our environment faces. People are beginning to raise their voices for the environment due to the damages caused by our all-too-human activity concerning plastic consumption. And we hope everyone wants to help alleviate these problems, including plastic pollution. People are taking up the endeavor to do this from their home, through their work, or in their daily activities. With this campaign, we want swimming to be an agent of change in this fight. We want the athletic icons participating in this event to inspire people to act on this problem for our oceans and our future. We want to encourage our swimmers to inspire more people to change their habits in regards to the fight for the environment. We are all fortunate enough to have a voice, we need to make it heard. It doesn’t matter if you are a swimmer, surfer, administrator, cook, or anything else. We can all generate a change.
Karina is a public accountant. She graduated from banking and commercial School, and is a high-performing Mexican athlete. She has been a certified diver since 2006, a diving instructor since 2010, as well as an open water swimmer, having traversed more than 115 km in the open sea. One of her main motivations in facing this challenge is the opportunity to create an alliance with Plastic Oceans, and other partners, to promote the conservation of the seas and oceans. Karina says, “My primary objective is to raise my voice through my strokes for 40 km of swimming against plastic, and to continue this throughout my years in the water.”
For Karina, motivating and influencing other people is a source of inspiration for what she does. She wants her efforts to turn the personal challenges of swimming in open waters into achievements, which will hopefully motivate more swimmers, athletes, and coaches. To drive this home, she seeks to perform many more swims with an an environmental cause attached, ensuring that each of her strokes supports many institutions, movements and individuals.
“The open waters represent, for me, a challenge and a passion. Swimming in the sea is my greatest joy. I have been a swimmer since I was a child. In recent years I have enhanced my ability as a swimmer in confined and open water. I consider myself a person committed to social causes and the environment. Being able to help and obtain tangible results is my engine.”
Mariana del Río
Mariana began swimming when she was just six months old. Her parents were the ones who boosted her passion and since then, her constant practice and determination have led her to great achievements nationally and internationally. The main objective that Mariana seeks to achieve with each one of the kilometers she swims is to be able to promote a decrease in the use of plastic and help create awareness. She seeks to create a space of faith and motivation where something can still be done to change the situation on our planet. She wants to inspire others with her determination to face 40 km of non-stop swimming, along with her fellow athletes, and break a world record. Her will is to get this message of perseverance and preserving our environment to more people.
Like her colleagues and mirroring the objective of this campaign, Mariana is very worried about, and cares for our environment. Her greatest inspiration is her mother.
“My biggest motive, apart from contributing to the environment, is my mom. She passed away a little less than a year ago and it was she who always drove me and my brother to go ahead and swim open waters. She would have loved the challenge (that we face) and would have followed us all the time on the boat. ”
Roberto del Río
Roberto, like his sister Mariana, started swimming at a very young age. He has been in the water since he was 11 months old. Like his companions, Roberto has had an admirable career in sports. He is specifically focused on high performance swimming and swimming in open water. He has been highly recognized as well as awarded prizes both nationally and internationally. He proudly mentions that among many of his achievements, he was awarded Athlete of the Year in 2016 and has been awarded a State Sports Prize in Mexico.
His goal and mission for this challenge is very similar to that of his companions. His motivation, like his sister, is his mother. Together with his father, sister and trainer, they seek to realize one of his mother Marcela’s dreams; a great project called “Nademos México.” Roberto, as an open water swimmer, has witnessed how polluted the waters of Mexico are. He knows we share these waters with the world and the environmental deterioration that is happening in their ecosystems. He is a strong believer in what is right and wants to make people more aware of taking care of the waters of Mexico and the world.
“If, with my example, I can motivate a child or young person, I think I already put a grain of sand for the change we want to see in the youth of my state and of this great country that is Mexico.”
A great event needs great people, and Plastic Oceans Mexico has the best and most dedicated. The journey to this second Swim Against Plastic has just begun. The motivation to break a record, to clean that beaches, and to provide information to the surrounding communities, continues to grow. It is up to all of us to deliver a message about plastic pollution. This fight against plastic needs all of our help until we win it and we are fighting for it to be so.
We thank you in advance for the support of our team of swimmers who have dedicated hours of training in the water and on land to make this event a reality and bring it to each of you. Because change comes from understanding and change comes care, let us inform you that you can have an impact, and inform everyone for the need to change.
One seed of change planted by one stroke at a time.