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Our very own EMEA Board member Lluís E. Guerra Vidiella from Auditia shows us how two continents, incredible determination and humanity connect in the true EMEA style!

On Saturday morning June 1st at 7:10 am Lluís embarked on an 16,8 km long swim from the shores of Spain to the shores of Morocco. He completed the swim between Europe and Africa in an incredible 5 hours and 30 minutes, together with his friends and an Auditia colleague. The motivation behind this incredible achievement was to support a charity bringing educational opportunities to children and young people at risk, including young refugees and immigrants who are often forced to swim to the European coast themselves, in very dangerous conditions.

Please see the impressive photos of Lluís’ swim between the two continents and join us in congratulating Lluís on his incredible achievement and great perseverance.

Lluís is a true symbol of the EMEA region and what we try to achieve every day – success, quality, discipline, social responsibility and perseverance!

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The story in Lluís’ own words: 

An unforgettable experience!

By Lluís E. Guerra Vidiella

“We did the crossing on the 1st of July 2017. It was our second attempt. The day before we were in the Tarifa harbour, ready to go at 6:30 am, but the wind and weather conditions were very bad and the waves close to the African coast were still too high to swim and to get to the coast safely on that day. So we waited for the second chance one day later. The problem was that the wind forecast indicated that at noon on the 1st of July the wind in the Strait would change and would start blowing from the East. This is very dangerous as when the wind blows from the East this causes strong water currents and weather changes, and makes it impossible to reach the African coast.  That means that, starting the challenge at 7:00 AM, we had only 5 hours to cover the 15 to 20 kilometres used to make the crossing (depending on the water currents).

We were a team of four swimmers. Teams can be only from one single swimmer up to four (no more than four people can cross at the same time). Two of them are friends of mine, Mia (architect, 59) and Guillem (lawyer, 57) and the third, our mermaid; Eli (tax expert, 28) is a member of the AUDITIA’s Tax Team dealing mainly with corporate transactions. Eli is nearly a professional swimmer. She used to mount the winners’ podium in open waters competitions and she also trains a senior swimmer team competing in the regional championships. So, she is really a mermaid and despite her youth she acted like our babysitter during the whole swim, using her youth and fitness to take care of everyone and act as our support. The final member of the team was our coach, Carlos, who is a former Olympic trainer and has the record of one bronze medal won in the Olympic games for one of his swimmers. Our team took the name of “Brazadas x Oportunidades” (Strokes in exchange of opportunities). The reason for the name is our motivation to do the crossing in the first place – to sponsor and crowd fund a program for the benefit of the ADSIS Foundation. ADSIS is a Spanish NGO committed to sheltering children and teenagers in social exclusion risk and helping them to come back to the right path through education. Most of their beneficiaries are immigrants who probably reach the European coast crossing the Mediterranean Sea in much worse and insecure conditions that we did.

Mia felt bad in the very beginning. He had a stomach ache. He was expected to be the leader of the group. Having this problem he was unable to maintain the appropriate rhythm and the whole group had to re-adjust their speed. Nevertheless, the first half of the crossing was wonderful: small wind, no waves, the sun raising and low but favourable water currents that helped us Swimming was a pleasure! The next 5 kilometres our speed fell down dramatically. In the coach Carlos’ opinion, the reason was that Guillem and Mia (because of his stomachs ache) didn’t drink enough and didn’t eat enough in the provision stops and they lost energy. In the last quarter of the crossing the real challenges started. When we had only 2 to 2,5 miles left to reach the Tanger’s coast, the wind slightly changed and started coming from the East / North-East, and the sea started to grow but with no breaking waves (you cannot imagine the sensation if you are not in, it is like big hills moving up and down) and the coldest water current I couldn’t ever imagine in Africa started to move us away from the coast. In one moment, we were swimming hard but we were unable to go forward. That is when the crossing supervisor and the coach Carlos started pushing us to swim harder and to go forward or they had to stop the crossing and force us to get into the boat. I don’t know how we did it, after more than 4,5 hours swimming, despite our physical and mental tiredness and the sea conditions, but we slowly started going forward stroke after stroke. And finally, at 12:43 PM, after swimming 16,8 Km (8 miles) during 5:35 hours we happily reached the African coast.

Thanks to the sponsors and all the individuals that help us through the crowd funding platform (including some beloved PrimeGlobal members) with this challenge we raised more than € 6.400 for the ADSIS Foundation which means more than 2.500 hours of education for those disadvantaged children and young ones.”

What an unforgettable experience!

Lluís


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