The Budapest Urban Games is back for only the second time in its history and this year the event includes a swim across the Danube.
Among the 263 participants were a few celebrities, including former lightweight boxing champion István Kovács.
Just before the swim he told Euronews:
“When l heard about swimming in the Danube in Budapest, which is like a bucket list event, it was obvious I just had to take part in the event.”
The swim starts from the Pest side and finishes on the Buda side100 metres away from the starting point.
Bozsik Dániel, Euronews:
“All the participants start from here, the Pest side of the Freedom bridge. They have to cross the river, and must keep in mind that the current is really strong, so they have to swim against it so they don’t drift away from the pier on the other side.”
A rescue crew of 40 people on 10 boats was on standby.
The swimmers face strong currents and even whirlpools in the 20 °C water so all participants must be over 18 and need a medical certificate of their physical ability.
Angyal Zsuzsanna one of the participant said after the swim:
“It was harder than l thought, the drifting was strong, and l was scared of being taken with it, but l managed to succeed in the end.”
Another swimmer, Ács Sándor, said:
“It’s a good feeling, but l was worried about drifting away. At the beginning it was terrible, ten people in front of me were carried away, so l was scared.”
In all, 200 people completed the swim but 63 swimmers had to be pulled in by the rescue boats for drifting too far.
The organisers want to make the event an annual tradition from now on, for anyone that fancies a swim in the famous Danube – or just a doggy paddle, as dogs are also invited.