Georgian “mermaid” is a record-holder!
04 September, 2014
Georgian “mermaid” is a record-holder!
Choreographer, historian and now a record holder, Rusudan Gordeziani, 28, swam non-stop for 25 hours and 15 minutes — 73 kilometers all the way from Sarpi to Anaklia. In the history of Georgia this is a record and not just for Georgian ladies. For Georgian males the record was just 60 kilometers, 13 kilometers less. Mamed Bedia, a lifeguard from Batumi, swam the portion of the Black Sea from Batumi to Poti in 1910 and the same distance was covered by
Zurab Khomasuridze a century after that. Rusudan Gordeziani has broken records before. Last year she held a 24-hour marathon in Tbilisi in a 50-meter swimming pool and with 5-minute breaks each hour, she did a 46,500 meters of laps. Soon afterwards, despite low temperatures and heavy winds she swam across the Tbilisi Sea twice – 4,000 meters in all. The Georgian “Mermaid” Rusudan Gordeziani plans to swim across La Manche Channel, as well as erect a peace memorial 250 kilometers out into the Black Sea.

– I was in love with swimming from my early childhood. Swimming for several kilometers was just a piece of cake for me. My mentor was Jumber Lezhava, himself a world record holder in cycling. I became his discovery. We even planned the legendary route, the Batumi-Poti lap together. Unfortunately, Jumber Lezhava passed away one month ago and perhaps the swim would not have happened had the Ministry of Internal Affairs not become interested in my marathon. It was under their aegis that my swim took place. And what’s most important, I dedicated my record swim to the fallen heroes of the Abkhazian and 2008 Russian-Georgian wars!

– What about security measures? What kind of back up did you have?

– The motorboat was following me couple of meters behind for security purposes, and there was a ship some 700-800 meters away, where along with the crew, referees and records committee members were stationed. Not even once did I touch the motorboat or the bottom of the sea – when I entered the sea at Sarpi, I stayed in it for 25 hours and 15 minutes!

– And all of this without a special costume and other protective gear?

– I could have put on some whale oil or other products to protect me from cold, but I didn’t. I just wore a regular swimming suit, goggles and a cap. When doing such a marathon, a sportsman loses minimum 5 kilograms usually, so I gained 7 kilograms on purpose before my swim… Although, I have not lost a single kilo, neither this time nor last year during my 24-hour marathon…

– What’s more, you covered the distance in 25 hours instead of the expected 40?

– 40 hours was a maximum time. Especially as I was planning to swim to Anaklia, that is a 100-kilometer distance. Unfortunately, at the Rioni River estuary, I ended up in double currents, which was reinforced by the headwind. In these circumstances I would have needed to swim for several hours just to stay atop the water, so the committee decided to stop the marathon. If I find the sponsors, I am planning to improve on my achievement and break a world record next year!

– Swimming tens of kilometers requires not only physical, but mental stamina. What is your secret?

– My dad told me couple of years ago never to fall, not even when you have to look at death straight in the eye. It stuck with me. And this is a paradox, but when I swim, I gain tons of energy! I hadn’t felt tired even after swimming 73 kilometers, even though I spent the whole night in the water.

– It is known that you are planning to swim across La Manche…

– It is true. Apart from that, I am planning to break a world record next year. I am planning to swim 250 kilometers into the Black Sea. This will b e a real sensation because no one has ever covered such a huge distance! But I am not interested in breaking a record, I just want the whole world to divert their attention to Georgia. Not will I only swim there – I would like a peace memorial to be erected 250 kilometers away from the shore, deep into the sea, at a height where every passing ship and pedestrian can see it from the shore. This memorial will signify the friendship between the land and the sea, and it will serve as proof that a human being swam to there, in the middle of the sea.

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