Pablo Fernandez becomes the first person in the world to swim from Senegal to Gambia

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Pablo Fernandez, a Spanish Open Water Swimmer became the first person in the world to swim from Senegal to Gambia in 9 hours and 56 minutes. The 26km unprecedented swim was considered impossible by many people until today, due to the strong currents and myths (crocodiles included) surrounding the Gambia River Estuary that separates Barra from Banjul.

The swim, called “Senegambia Open Water Challenge” started in Plage d´Or (a small beach near the Senegalese town of Djinak) at 7.22 am (just before sunrise) and finished in the Gambian the beaches of Banjul (close to the state house) at 5.15pm (just before sunset).

Pablo completed the first 12km in less than 3 hours, but on approaching Gambia´s River estuary, he faced extremely strong currents of up to 6km/h, starting a struggle that lasted four hours, pushing him 7km into the Atlantic Ocean. When the strength of the current reduced, Pablo made his way back into the mainland reaching Banjul 3 hours later when a group of local swimmers from the Gambia Swimming Association welcomed the Spaniard to celebrate the record.

“The objective of the challenge was to raise awareness about open water swimming in Gambia and to inspire young Gambian athletes to join the Gambia Swimming Association” said Pablo Fernandez in an interview at Africa radio (a local radio station) right after the swim.

Pablo is a Spanish entrepreneur (co-founder of, the largest used-car online player in Spain) and a veteran open water swimmer with many challenges behind him. He was the first person in the world to swim from US Virgin Islands to Puerto Rico, he swum the Strait of Gibraltar (between Spain & Morocco), and he swum with sharks in South Africa, and has completed multiple events in the Spanish Open Water competition. 

Author: Omar Jarju