Giovanni Arena

From Openwaterpedia

Giovanni Arena is an escort pilot in the Strait of Messina in Sicily, Italy. He guided Nino Fazio on 2 September 2010 to a new record of the double-crossing of the Strait of Messina , swimming the 6.7 km course in 1 hour 22 minutes 23 seconds. He also guided 82 y.o. Finy Fichera in a double-crossing of the Strait of Messina in 2010 that was nominated for the 2010 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year. Five years later, Arena led Nino's son, Andrea Fazio in his record of the single crossing of the Strait. Andrea's time, 30 minutes 6 seconds, broke the 40-years-old record set by Giovanni Fiannacca in 1975. He has also led Sarah Iannello in her female's record-setting swim, 35'00". In 2023, he led again Andrea Fazio in his challenge to beat his own record, missed by a few seconds with the second time in the history of the Strait. A professional helmsman on the Ferries that sail every day across the Strait, Giovanni is one of the most respected "leads" for the swimmers who have tried the crossing in the past few years. Besides that, he is also a strong athlete in his own right, having crossed the Strait in 37'08" at 54 years of age, setting the over-50 record on the single-crossing.

A quick glance at the Gold Book History of the Strait of Messina reveals that many among the fastest swims have been led by Arena: besides the Fazio's records of the Single and Double Crossings, also female's best and second best times on the Single Crossing; the second, fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth male's best times on the Single Crossing, female's breast-stroke and back-stroke records ... All these results were achieved with Arena at the helm.

Since 2007 Giovanni Arena, alongside Nino Fazio organizes and leads non-competite individual and group swims across the Strait of Messina.

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