Diego López is an enormous swimmer. He realized many Impressive swims, arround the globe, most of them in pòdium positions…and this year he is facing a major challenge, the Continents Seven. But this is not all, he is about to complete the Triple Crown!
We’ve been so lucky to talk a little with him!
Hi Diego, can you describe youserlf for us in a few words?
I am a normal guy, that grew curious about the world and that uses swimming as an excuse for traveling around the world.
What you do for a living?
I work in Corporate Finance, and specialize in advising foreign Governments in their investments in the US and abroad.
You have been swimming and achieving many Challenges in OW swimming for many years… how did the Continent Seven Challenge came to your mind?
I was talking to Steven Munatones (WOWSA) about all I did in 2017 and how I wanted to swim in six continents in 2018. He said that nobody had ever done seven continents in a single year and teased me to swim in Antarctica, too. We jointly coined the term Continents Seven, and the rest is history.
But before you arrive to this point of your career as a swimmer, you may have an impressive background in swimming…which has been your evolution?
I didn’t get into OWS properly until I moved to Hong Kong for work in 2012. I was keen to get back to formal training, and I found the local OWS team, founded and managed by three Australians. It wasn’t long until I started to target longer and more difficult races and competitions around the world.
To be able to accomplish these events/challenges you must follow a very accurated training plan. Do you have a coach? How is your weekly schedule?
I don’t have a personal coach, but I train with two Master Swimmings team in New York. I am very disciplined and don’t skip a single practice at 6am, whether it rains, it snows or it hurts! Also, I try and get as much exposure and mileage to the Open Waters in the weekend as possible. I have a full time job, so on average I can only commit to about 20km in the pool, 10km outside, and some running every week.
From your experience, in terms of training and lifestyle, what will you recomend to swimmers who dream to achieve the big challenges of the OWS community?
The best advice is to start small and to increase difficulties and mileage with time. OWS is a very mental sport, you can only target major races if you have encountered similar conditions and experienced similar feelings before. Be ambitious and driven, but start small.
You are a convinced non-wetsuit swimmer! Why you have choosen this way? What’s your opinion about the use of wetsuits?
If you’d like to be regarded as a good OWS, you need to target the world’s majors (Triple Crown, Oceans Seven, etc.). None of these swims allow the use of wetsuit, so I couln’t get used to the use of wetsuits. Plus, I am a purist and I think that we should all compete in the same conditions – skins.
Which tips & advice will you give to a swimmer that would like to introduce to cold Water swimming?
My advice before applies especially to cold swimming. One does not become an ice swimmer overnight, the body needs to get used to the feeling and reactions to the drop in temperature. Cold showers and ice bath help a little bit, but just make sure you are exposed to cold waters in the ocean too.
With such a busy and worldwide schedule, do you recieve or have any support to make it easier?
I have been looking for a major sponsor for a while now, but unfortunately this sport of ours is still in the early stages and doesn’t attract too many sponsors. I have been able to fund myself so far, but I may need to be more selective with my races going foward.
OWS is raising in popularity. What’s your opinion about this phenomenon?
I love it! I am amazed sometimes at small races in the US or the Caribbean, where I see hundreds of swimmers of all ages and levels. Swimming is a very healthy sport by itself, and doing it outdoors adds nature and pollution awareness to the equation – it doesn’t get better than that!