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Stroking Monte

Bali-based Long-Distance Swimmer Breaks Another World Record while Swimming for Yogya Earthquake Relief.


As reported on [Monte Sets Records and Fights Child Hunger], the Bali-based American long-distance swimmer, Monte Monfore, seems more at home in the water between Indonesia's many islands than when actually standing on terra firma.

Adding yet again to his long list of "firsts" and "world records," the 45 year-old Californian managed to set a new record time covering a 12.5 kilometers straits at the Karimunjaya National Marine Park off Central Java's northern coast on Friday, June 9, 2006.

Monfore dedicated his record-setting swim to assisting the United Nations' World Food Program (WFP) in their efforts to raise awareness for the plight of survivors of the recent tragic earthquake in Central Java and Yogyakarta. Beginning his swim at the Kura Kura Resort at Menyawakan Island at 4:43 a.m., Monte paused to comment before beginning, saying: "I'm beginning my swim in darkness to reflect the devastaion of the earthquake and the dire circumstances of those still suffering from the tragedy. Nearly 6,000 people lost their lives and some 650,000 people were left homeless or displaced. I plan to finish my swim after sunrise to represent the hope that those suffering from the tragedy will receive the urgent help they need. Once again this beautiful country has been hit by a natural disaster and the Indonesian people need our support."

Wearing a small fluorescent light attached to his swimming trunks, Monte led the way through dark waters for camera crews and support crew in follow-boats as he battled high seas and opposing currents during the first two hours of his swim.

Tossed by high seas and nauseous as a result, Monte was unable to retain special energy drinks handed to him during his swim. Adding to his difficulties were painful jellyfish bites in combination with the strict code of all long distance swimmers to use no fins, to wear no protective insulating rubber suits, and to at no time during the swim touch a support vessel.

After an epic swim lasting 4 hours and 4 minutes, Monte stepped ashore on uninhabited Kumbang Island. Recorded on film by Stormbird Media's Dean Allan Yolhurst and Robert Barkman, the swimmer received enthusiastic applause from his very sea-sick support crew, equally glad to once again make contact with land.

Commenting after his exhausting marathon swim, Monte said: "I'm tired, but I feel good and happy. This swim, however, is for the people affected by the Yogya quake. Hundreds of thousands have lost nearly everything and now they must begin rebuilding their lives. This recovery will cost an estimated US$100 million. These wonderful people need help now."

Using the opportunity to advance another of his favorite causes, Monte added: "I want to take this opportunity to campaign for protection of the oceans and reefs around the world, which are slowly being destroyed by humans. Awareness and diligence are necessary to save this most vital and delicate ecosystem. It is our responsibility to safeguard the sea for future generations."

Monte's latest feat follows by less than 3 weeks another record-setting single crossing between Bali and East Java, breaking his own world-record on that treacherous crossing.

In September Monte is scheduled to try to break another record-personal-best set in 2003 as he sets off to swim the 17 kilometers separating Bali and the island of Nusa Penida. Sponsored by the Bali Tourism Board and the The Bali Hotel Association, print and film coverage of that event will be distributed to the international media.

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