Neil Agius Breaks Longest Non-stop Ocean Swim Record

Former Olympic 400m swimmer Neil Agius of Malta has broken the record for the longest non-stop, unassisted swim. The 35-year-old swam 125.6km from Linosa, Italy back to Malta in just over 52 hours.

Getting ready. Photo: Photo: @neilagius.official


He started stroking on June 28 and swam through two sunrises and two sunsets to arrive in Xlendi, Malta at 10pm on June 29.

He initially intended to swim 153km from Tunisia to Malta, but his crew were unable to leave Tunisia because of bad weather. So he changed his route at the last minute. Thirty-two supporting crew split among half a dozen boats kept an eye on him during his swim.

The entire swim was live-streamed and drew over two million viewers, according to Maltese sources. Agius used the publicity from the swim to highlight plastic pollution in our oceans.

Agius signals an all’s well to his crew. Photo: Photo: @neilagius.official


He swam unassisted and without a wetsuit. During the first 30km, waves hit him constantly from the front and side. Currents gradually become more favorable, and in the last 25km, his average pace picked up from 2.5kph to 3.2kph.

Australia’s Chloe McCardle set the previous world record for a current-neutral, single segment natural route in an ocean in 2014. She swam 124.4km  from South Eleuthera Island to Nassau, Bahamas in 41 hours and 21 minutes. Before Agius’s attempt, she told Times of Malta, “I really wish him the very best.” Because of his shortened route, Agius bested her distance by barely more than a kilometre.

Adding another layer of excitement to the feat, Agius’s girlfriend proposed to him just before he started. He said yes.

Photo: @neilagius.official