Paros-Antiparos Channel Crossing
The first Saturday in July marks the day a great sporting event takes place—the Paros-Antiparos Channel Crossing—a race that both celebrates swimming and challenges young and old, athletes and non-athletes. It is an aquatic channel crossing from Pounta in Paros to the Port of Antiparos, covering a distance of 1,453 metres. Every year, Greek and non-Greek swimmers, kids and grown-ups with an appetite for the event and with astounding vivacity, swim across the channel, their reward being either a distinction or the warm applause of the crowd waiting to welcome them on the opposite shore.
The Antiparos Nautical Club (NOA) is responsible for organising this big event, which is held under the aegis of the Municipality. Since 2004, NOA has been actively participating in the promulgation of the sporting ideal and in the cultural development of the island, through, among other things, the swimming lessons it offers (groups are age-based; participants aged four and up).
Participation forms for the Channel Crossing are completed at the NOA offices at the Port of Antiparos, up to two hours prior to the start of the event. Participants must declare that they know how to swim. All necessary safety precautions and measures are taken, and all regulations upheld, as laid down by law. Lifeboats follow behind the swimmers, as do caiques, carrying the escorts of the athletes and others providing competitors with words of encouragement to help boost their morale. Nevertheless, however safeguarded swimmers may be owing to the actions taken by the organisers, their physical condition must still be sound, their training regimen suitable and stamina at a high level in order to be able to swim across the channel.
What matters is taking part, not gaining a distinction. This thought, however many times it may be heard or repeated, never loses its meaning. The Channel Crossing is a celebration for the entire island. It is an astounding course and an unforgettable experience.