Athletes swim in Istanbul’s Bosphorus to pay respect to strait

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Jumping into the sea at various points in Istanbul every weekend, a group of professional athletes swam from Kireçburnu coast to Aşiyan Bay in order to pay homage to Istanbul’s Bosphorus Strait.

The Bosphorus, which separates the Asian and European continents and where hundreds of ships and vessels pass every day, has hosted a group of swimmers who call themselves “Boğaz’ın Efendileri” (the Masters of the Bosphorus).

The team consisting of nearly 30 swimmers stroked out with their suits to show their love and respect for the iconic strait while passing an 8-kilometer course in almost three hours.

The crew swims at various points in Istanbul every weekend between May and November and shows up on the Bosphorus once a year for a special event.

Changes in water level that can reach up to one meter, especially in winter, may endanger the life safety of swimmers, according to experts.

Team captain Ali Akgül said that this event has been going on for three years, noting that they have been swimming against the strong currents.

“It will be difficult to swim in a suit, but we have tried it before, and we have overcome this difficulty,” said Enes Şirin, an athlete who came from neighboring Kocaeli province to Istanbul to swim and speak before the occasion.

The crew was provided with land support in order to avoid any negativity during the event.

“All of our swimmers are professional, but we also provide support from land to prevent and assist them in the sea,” said Hasan Heke, following the athletes from the shore with great care.

The team members, who wore their bonnets and goggles in addition to their ties, prepared for this challenging marathon with the warming up movements that they made on the shore before the tough event.

Ercan Yürek, one of the swimmers who completed the course with red trousers and a stylish white shirt, said that he has not dressed as elegantly in normal times but fancied up for his passion for the sea.

“We do it to create awareness, to attract the attention of the people around, to make them smile. We also take the necessary measures. We have buoys, glasses and ground crew,” Yürek said.

But he does not recommend swimming on such a track for non-professional swimmers.

Since ancient times, currents have made the passage through the Bosphorus a nightmare for mariners.

Even today, it is frustrating for captains of modern ships, which people assume could pass through easily.

Hurriyet Daily News

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