Wednesday 22th August, 2007


Dominican swimmer circles Manhattan twice to help sick children

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After more than 22 consecutive hours of swimming around Manhattan, Marcos Diaz finally came ashore on Sunday.

The Dominican world record-holder had a goal for his marathon overnight swim: To raise money for poor Dominican children with cancer and start a program for youngsters with asthma. Diaz, 32, battled asthma as a child by swimming in Caribbean waters.

He circled the island — which is about 13 miles (20 kilometers) long and 2 miles (3 kilometers) wide at its widest — twice and finished the 60-mile (96-kilometer) swim at the Dyckman Marina in the Washington Heights neighborhood, which is the heart of New York’s Dominican community.

Diaz walked out of the water smiling after 22 hours, 14 minutes of swimming. He was welcomed by thousands of people and a Dominican feast featuring live music. While doctors examined Diaz in a tent, the crush of the crowd was so intense that organizers found a lookalike to draw admirers away.

Diaz said the Dominican government was sponsoring his New York marathon swim.

In 2005, Diaz set the speed record between two continents when he crossed the Strait of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco both ways in 8 hours, 34 minutes. He’s also a two-time winner of the Toroneos Gulf Crossing in Greece, and has swum across the English Channel.

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