Abilio Couto

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Abilio Couto
Abilio Alvaro Da Costa Couto is a Brazilian open water swimmer who was inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2001 as an Honour Swimmer. He is considered to be the father of open water swimming in Brazil and completed a crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar on 10 August 1966 at the age of 42 in 5 hours 52 minutes.

In 1958, Couto swam from France to England in 12 hours 45 minutes as the first Brazilian and South American to swim across the English Channel. A year later, he swam from France to England again in 11 hours 33 minutes. With only 14 days rest, he swam back from England to France in 12 hours 49 minutes.

Couto was an eight-time winner of the International Long Distance Swimming Federation marathon swims in 1959, 1961, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1971 and 1975) and was a four-time overall series champion in 1959, 1961, 1963, and 1967). He also swam across the Strait of Gibraltar (1965), Lake Michigan (1965), Suez Canal (1974), Nile River (1975), Mar del Plata (1960) and Lake Ontario (1960). It is estimated that Couto swam more than 40,000 kilometers during his career, only a bit shorter than the circumference of the earth around the equator.

On the domestic open water swimming forefront where he is known as the Father of Open Water Swimming in Brazil, he was instrumental in the establishment of the first Brazil Open Water Championships and many other events including the Ilhabella-Caraguatatuba 25 km event.

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