THINK ON THESE: The courageous pinoy aquaman

Atty. Ingemar P. Macarine, the famed Pinoy Aquaman, has been included in the list of the “2017 World’s 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men” by the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA).

Described as “channel/marathon swimmer from the Philippines,” Maracine was ranked 21st. Above him was Padraig Mallon, escort pilot, event organizer and marathon/ channel/ice swimmer from Ireland. He was ahead of Andrew Malinak, administrator and cold water/marathon channel swimmer from the United States.

The last time such list was made was two years ago. “Without a doubt, these 50 men lead daring, courageous, and audacious lifestyles with mindsets that are rare,” the WOWSA explained.

Open water swimmers are similar to dryland adventurers “who challenge Mother Nature and snow-covered mountains, dense jungles, inhospitable deserts, and sheer cliff walls.” However, they are unlike to watermen “who tackled the marine environment using kayaks, surfboards, paddleboards, and boats.”

Those included in the current list are swimmers who “only use swimsuits, goggles, and swims cap to push the envelope of what is possible.”

In terms of equipment and gear, WOWSA said the 50 adventurous open water men are “least armed… once they step off the shoreline.” Among those cited were Lewis Pugh, Ger Kennedy and Petar Stoychev, who did not wear any clothes and had no protective gear. “They are suited up with the most basic covering around their private parts and eyes.”

WOWSA further explained: “Although these open water adventurers can be easily and certainly be injured in any number of ways in the ocean, rivers and lakes, they all take calculated risks after careful planning, lengthy acclimatization periods, and intense training.”

In the last list, both contemporary aquatic adventurers as well as men who already retired were included. In comparison, the current list includes active watermen, “focusing on men who have done unprecedented swims of note or a significant number of risk-inherent channel, lake, marathon or ice swims.”

WOWSA added: “These men have proven themselves in high-level competitions and solo swims, and men who have safely guided many swimmers of various abilities in rough waters, with emphasis on men who have repeatedly swum in waters that are colder, rougher and longer than the English Channel.”

According to WOWSA, “adventure involves not only the difficulty of swim itself but also the creativity of the course and the uniqueness of the location.” One critical factor to be included in the list is toughness.

“Personal toughness for me were out Antartica one-mile swim in 2014, the attempt of the solo Russia-United States crossing last year, the English Channel, Patagonia Extreme Cold Water Challenge, and earlier on, my attempt with a bunch of Taiwanese swim from Taiwan to China,” recalled Ryan Stramrood, an ice/extreme swimmer from South Africa who ranked 42nd in the list.

In the top ten were the following: Dr. Doron Amosi, Israel; Antonio Arguelles Diaz-Gonzales, Mexico; Cyril Baldrock, Australia; Ram Barkai, South Africa; John Batchelder, United States; Nejib Belhedi, Tunisia; Alexander Brylin, Russia; Luc Chetboun, Israel and Andrew Chin, South Africa (tied in No. 8), Salvatore Cimmino, Italy; and Jean Craven, South Africa.

Macarine is the only Filipino included in the list. One of his most recent swims was from Camiguin Island to Talisayan, Misamis Oriental. He called it as “swimming for peace” because of the war going on in Marawi City.

“I am saddened by the ongoing war in Marawi City,” he told this columnist in a private message sent to this reporter. “This swim is my humble contribution to promote peace between our brother Muslims and Christians in Mindanao.”

After battling a very strong current and rough waters for seven hours and 47 minutes logging 23.15 kilometers, Atty. Macarine finally set foot on Calamcam Beach in Talisayan. He swam all the way from Guinsiliban Port in Camiguin.

“Our original landing point was Balingoan Port, but I was carried away by a strong current,” said the swimmer who was born and raised in Placer and Malimono in Surigao del Norte.

The lawyer, dubbed as “Pinoy Aquaman,” was expecting somewhere between three to four hours swim. But it took almost double the forecasted swimming time. “The strong current was totally unexpected,” he disclosed.

Triathlete Gilbert Grado, municipal accountant of Mambajao municipality in Camiguin later joined him as his “swim pacer for the last few kilometers.”

“My spirit and will to continue was lifted when you jumped and accompanied me while I was approaching Sipaka Point,” Macarine wrote in his message.

A proud Bisaya, Macarine has already stacked more than two dozen open water swims in his résumé, here and abroad. He is the first man to swim from Basul Island to Surigao City — a distance of 4.2 kilometers in just two hours.

He swam the 12.8 kilometers distance from Hikdop Island to Surigao City in 3 hours and 38 minutes, making him the first person to do so. He is also the first man to conquer the Babuyan Channel by swimming from Palaui Island to Sta. Ana in Cagayan (7.2 kilometers in 2 hours).

He has already conquered the Cebu Strait by swimming non-stop the 16.8-kilometer distance from Cabilao Island of Loon, Bohol to Argao in Cebu.

In the United States, Macarine became the first Filipino to swim from Alcatraz Island Penitentiary to San Francisco, California. He accomplished swimming the 2.7-kilometer distance in just one hour. He is also the first Filipino to swim the 1-kilometer Lucky Lake Swim in Lake Lane, Orlando, Florida.

His most recent record was when crossed the icy-cold water of Hudson River in New York in a distance of 8.4 kilometers last month.

Like most sports personalities, Macarine doesn’t smoke but he’s a social drinker. “During parties or some occasions (which is very rare), I drink one or two bottles of beer or a glass or two of wine,” he said. “No hard drinks for me.”

As a swimmer, he follows the Marathon Swimming Federation Rules. It means no floating aids of any kind, regular swim suits only, and no physical contact with another human being or with the boats.