Crossing the Strait of Messina, the “king” is Sanzullo


By John

The Crossing of the Strait, now in its 59th edition and with an eye to the historic milestone of sixty years, was staged, as is tradition on the first Sunday in August. People fill both the seafront of the Villa and the pier of the Marina dello Stretto to await the arrival of the swimmers who have decided to take part in a race which, as repeatedly mentioned, is an emotion beyond the competitive aspect and which, despite their age, continues to be so in all its expressions.
Eighty-two swimmers in the water, including agonists, masters, men and women. The Neapolitan Pasquale Sanzullo (Cs Carabinieri) emerged victorious, already on the first step of the podium in 2019 and 2022 and who, therefore, enters his name in the roll of honor for the third time. Despite the bad weather and the delayed departure due to the weather conditions, the competition took place with the usual competitive level that distinguishes it and the ability of the organization of the Villa Swimming Center in being able to overcome any obstacles caused by natural events, which also yesterday were not lacking. A machine that also works thanks to the support of the forces of order and, above all, of the Harbor Master’s Office and the Pilots’ Guild of the Strait. As always, the boatmen are indispensable, a fundamental guide for the trajectories to follow that can direct the result. But the beating heart obviously remains the desire to push towards the desired “arrival” sign at the maximum sporting level of each protagonist. on the Calabrian side of the event. Stroke after stroke to challenge quite choppy waters also due to the presence of the wind and gain, in useful ranking, the center of the Strait to continue the race in a good position. And above all Sanzullo and Alessio Occhipinti did it (accustomed, under the seal of the Fiamme Oro, to taming the sea between Capri and Naples), both already on the eve of special observations, and both “pursued” by Giuseppe Ilario (Gs Fiamme Oro), another athlete on whom attention was focused. Then the most complicated part, halfway through, where you can take your breath away and be able to give the decisive boost to the swim, which, like any self-respecting Crossing, must counteract the typical and insidious currents of the Strait.
The mayor of Villa Giusy Caminiti was also waiting for the winners: «It is not only the most important cross-country swimming competition in Italy, but a moment capable of giving, year after year, ever-changing sensations in a wonderful setting which is that of the Strait in all its peculiarities and characteristics – he said -. It is essential, observing all the surroundings that this race gives us, that the city regains its relationship with its sea». A conclusion of Traversata that respected the predictions with the people cheering and inciting the swimmers: Sanzullo was the first to reach the coveted point, but broke away from Occhipinti and Ilario, second and third respectively, for a few, but decisive, strokes (56’33.3 and 56’33.5 the time of the first two).
Among women, first place for the favorite Silvia Ciccarella (Cs Carabinieri), followed by Giorgia Di Mario of Swimblu Asd. To quote the words of one of the engines of the Crossing, Mimmo Pellegrino, «an adrenaline rush with a beautiful finish for the head-to-head we witnessed. This place, the Strait, is unique for all water sports and not just swimming.”