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London Tooting Bec Cold Water Swimming Championships 2017Cold UK Ice Mile SwimmingMontenegro swimmers meeting gold olympian from Rio 2016Swimming holiday locations captured by droneGreece - Swim and Sail Cruise HolidaySwim and Sail Cruise PhotosBest Lakes to Swim in EuropeSwimming Lake Powell CanyonsStrel World SwimHuman Limits presents Martin Strel, the Marathon SwimmerSwimming Croatian Islands from the AirMediterranean Turkey TripsSpring´s Best Fitness RetreatsSwimming around Obonjan island in CroatiaOlympic swimmer about Swimming and Sailing in TurkeySlovenia ranks top Greenest Countries in the WorldSwimming in Slovenia Customer ReviewAustralian Swimmer Talks about Swimming in CroatiaTravelling from Venice, Italy to SloveniaMartin Strel amongst top 10 extreme world stuntsSwimming the Yugoslavian submarine tunnelsTestimonials About Montenegro SwimmingSwimming the Mississippi RiverNew Swim and Sail Turkey VideoMartin Strel International Marathon Swimming Hall of FameTurkish Gulet Swimming Adventure InterviewSwimming trip guest reviewsCroatia Sea SwimmingMediterranean Turkey Swimming HolidaySwimmers with disability on holidaysSwimming in Tenerife Sea Canary IslandsLake Swimming Trip in SloveniaMontenegro Fort Mamula island swimmingBest Deal Swimming HolidaySwimming holidays for singlesLake Bled Winter Swimming Event 2015Chill Swim Winter Swimming on WindermereBest Fitness Holidays in EuropeLondon 2015 Cold Water Swimming ChampionshipsTrying Out Open Water SwimmingLake Swimming SongSwimming Turkey - week long trip itinerarySink or Swim feature article about Slovenian Lake Swimming AdventureArticle by Telegraph Swimming in Dalmatia (Croatia)Boxing Day Swimming at West Midlands Water-ski CentreMartin Strel member of International Marathon Swimming Hall Of FameFive days of Croatian island-hoppingInspiring story from our Croatian swimming tripIn the swim: Article from our guest about Croatian swimming tripGuest reviews and blog article from Croatia swimsMontenegro swimming holiday reviewStrel Montenegro swimming songSwimming at the Lulworth Cove, Man Of War and Durdle Door beaches of the Jurassic CoastMartin Strel swimming with Sheikh from Saudi Arabia to BahrainWorld´s Winter Swimming Championships in Rovaniemi, FinlandWinter swimming at Big Chill Swim on Lake Windermere 2014Montenegro holiday reviews by our customersNew mobile app about Slovenia´s Top 50 places to visitMartin Strel 5 Times Guinness World Record HolderThe Lake Powell Swimming ExperienceCroatia Underwater Swimming Top QualityLake Powell Article: Aquatic swimming adventure with Martin StrelOur guide and coach Giovanna RichardsLake Powell Swimming - Crawl through the desertLake Bled Winter Swimming Cup 2013Winter Swimming Championships in Tooting Bec Lido in LondonLake Swimming TestimonialsNick Ward reports about our Sea Swimming in CroatiaLake Powell Best Swim VacationLiving Swimming Legend Visits Page, Arizona and Swims Lake PowellStrel swims from Statue of Liberty to Freedom TowerVirtual Open Water Swim ChallengeA Strel Swimming Story From Croatia10th anniversary Mississippi River SwimSwimming Smiths blog about Slovenia swimming tourWhy Go for Open Water SwimmingOpen Water Swimmer Show premieres on National GeographicH2open Swimming EventH2Open water swimming event at Reading Lake, UKMartin Strel´s Epic Amazon Swim celebrates 5 year anniversaryH2Open Water Swimming NominationHow to swim the Amazon river by Martin StrelWhy is swimming so great for your healthSwimming with sharksLake Bled Winter Swimming CupSouth African Swimming TourNEW-Croatian short swimming holidayLake Bled swimming in the winterSlovenian lake swimming holiday ON SALEMartin Strel Swimming Article: Incredible Endeavours
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Five days of Croatian island-hopping

Read a great article written by our guest, professional writer and avid open water swimmer. She came from Toronto, Canada to do our five day Croatian island hopping swim holiday.
I love to swim. Pools are fine, but my real passion is swimming in open water. I’m fortunate to live a stone’s throw from one of the world’s great bodies of fresh water. I swim in Lake Ontario for as much of the year as I can, but away from home, finding places to swim has always been a challenge. Then I saw Big River Man, the hilarious, awe-inspiring documentary about marathon swimmer Martin Strel, and learned that he and his son Borut have a company that runs “swimming holidays” in the Adriatic. It had never occurred to me to make swimming the focus of a trip. I decided to take the – pun intended – plunge.

Five days of “Croatian Island-Hopping” fit my schedule and budget. Croatia has a long, gorgeous coastline, with stunningly clear water and thousands of islands. The Strel Swimming website said we’d be swimming an average of 4 km a day. Having done several distance swims, I knew that wouldn’t be a problem. I was glad there was no mention of speed. Mine hadn’t improved much since I was nine, when I finished dead last in my first swim meet.

Croatia island hopping swimming
 
Our base was a small island hotel on the Dalmatian coast. Every morning after breakfast, I’d board a boat with a dozen other swimmers, head guide Borut Strel and a 3-person crew. Arriving at a pre-selected spot, we’d put on our caps and goggles, descend the side ladder, and swim for an hour or more – sometimes along the shore, sometimes island-to-island. After a hearty lunch, we’d head to another swimming spot. In between swims, we did some dry-land exploring, too – a haunting spot known as the “Island of Youth” with an abandoned camp and resort from the Soviet era, and Zirje, another island with ruins of a 6th-century Byzantine fortress.
 
In the water, I never felt alone or unsafe. We were escorted by two inflatables, and the main boat was never out of sight. Plus we were clearly visible to the guides, with our hot pink and electric yellow swim caps. The group was mostly Brits, a few Aussies, a Pole and a Swiss. They did have one thing in common, though: They were all faster swimmers than me – in a few cases, way faster. One had even swum the English Channel. Once again I was at the back of the pack. But I held my own. I never bailed on a swim. 
 
Still, I approached the final night with trepidation. Earlier that day Borut filmed each swimmer with an underwater camera, and showed the footage that evening at a Stroke Assessment session. I sat there, waiting my turn, hoping against hope that he’d say something like, “Kathleen, you’re slow but you have nice form.” But no. Turns out I don’t have nice form. My fingers are splayed. My legs are a drag – literally! Overall, my stroke is best described with a word no swimmer wants to hear: inefficient. I wasn’t surprised, or even discouraged. Through the week Borut had been unfailingly positive (“Great swim!” “You’re doing very well!”). It was the kind of vacuous praise I normally can’t stand, but out there on the water, it was just what I needed to hear. And now he was again telling me what I needed to hear, in the same warm, encouraging tone.

Croatia island hopping swimming
 
I’m already thinking about doing another swim holiday. Oh, I’ll work a bit on my inefficient stroke. I’ll probably still finish at the back of the pack, maybe even dead last. 
 
And it won’t bother me a bit.
 
Kathleen McDonnell attended our Croatia swimming trip in June 2014. She is an avid open water in Toronto area and a professional writer. She´s been published in the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail and other major publications in Canada. Her website: www.kathleenmcdonnell.com

Video clip of underwater swimming in Croatia

 
London Tooting Bec Cold Water Swimming Championships 2017Cold UK Ice Mile SwimmingMontenegro swimmers meeting gold olympian from Rio 2016Swimming holiday locations captured by droneGreece - Swim and Sail Cruise HolidaySwim and Sail Cruise PhotosBest Lakes to Swim in EuropeSwimming Lake Powell CanyonsStrel World SwimHuman Limits presents Martin Strel, the Marathon SwimmerSwimming Croatian Islands from the AirMediterranean Turkey TripsSpring´s Best Fitness RetreatsSwimming around Obonjan island in CroatiaOlympic swimmer about Swimming and Sailing in TurkeySlovenia ranks top Greenest Countries in the WorldSwimming in Slovenia Customer ReviewAustralian Swimmer Talks about Swimming in CroatiaTravelling from Venice, Italy to SloveniaMartin Strel amongst top 10 extreme world stuntsSwimming the Yugoslavian submarine tunnelsTestimonials About Montenegro SwimmingSwimming the Mississippi RiverNew Swim and Sail Turkey VideoMartin Strel International Marathon Swimming Hall of FameTurkish Gulet Swimming Adventure InterviewSwimming trip guest reviewsCroatia Sea SwimmingMediterranean Turkey Swimming HolidaySwimmers with disability on holidaysSwimming in Tenerife Sea Canary IslandsLake Swimming Trip in SloveniaMontenegro Fort Mamula island swimmingBest Deal Swimming HolidaySwimming holidays for singlesLake Bled Winter Swimming Event 2015Chill Swim Winter Swimming on WindermereBest Fitness Holidays in EuropeLondon 2015 Cold Water Swimming ChampionshipsTrying Out Open Water SwimmingLake Swimming SongSwimming Turkey - week long trip itinerarySink or Swim feature article about Slovenian Lake Swimming AdventureArticle by Telegraph Swimming in Dalmatia (Croatia)Boxing Day Swimming at West Midlands Water-ski CentreMartin Strel member of International Marathon Swimming Hall Of FameFive days of Croatian island-hoppingInspiring story from our Croatian swimming tripIn the swim: Article from our guest about Croatian swimming tripGuest reviews and blog article from Croatia swimsMontenegro swimming holiday reviewStrel Montenegro swimming songSwimming at the Lulworth Cove, Man Of War and Durdle Door beaches of the Jurassic CoastMartin Strel swimming with Sheikh from Saudi Arabia to BahrainWorld´s Winter Swimming Championships in Rovaniemi, FinlandWinter swimming at Big Chill Swim on Lake Windermere 2014Montenegro holiday reviews by our customersNew mobile app about Slovenia´s Top 50 places to visitMartin Strel 5 Times Guinness World Record HolderThe Lake Powell Swimming ExperienceCroatia Underwater Swimming Top QualityLake Powell Article: Aquatic swimming adventure with Martin StrelOur guide and coach Giovanna RichardsLake Powell Swimming - Crawl through the desertLake Bled Winter Swimming Cup 2013Winter Swimming Championships in Tooting Bec Lido in LondonLake Swimming TestimonialsNick Ward reports about our Sea Swimming in CroatiaLake Powell Best Swim VacationLiving Swimming Legend Visits Page, Arizona and Swims Lake PowellStrel swims from Statue of Liberty to Freedom TowerVirtual Open Water Swim ChallengeA Strel Swimming Story From Croatia10th anniversary Mississippi River SwimSwimming Smiths blog about Slovenia swimming tourWhy Go for Open Water SwimmingOpen Water Swimmer Show premieres on National GeographicH2open Swimming EventH2Open water swimming event at Reading Lake, UKMartin Strel´s Epic Amazon Swim celebrates 5 year anniversaryH2Open Water Swimming NominationHow to swim the Amazon river by Martin StrelWhy is swimming so great for your healthSwimming with sharksLake Bled Winter Swimming CupSouth African Swimming TourNEW-Croatian short swimming holidayLake Bled swimming in the winterSlovenian lake swimming holiday ON SALEMartin Strel Swimming Article: Incredible Endeavours
Our teamWhy swim with usNewsReviewsPress/MediaBrochureInsuranceGroup bookingsTraining planFAQsOur storeSeeschwimmenSpeaking in SwitzerlandWork with us