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Monte the Swimmer - Satu Hati Education Swim

Saturday September 01, 2007

Monte Swims For Children’s Education

Early Independence Day morning August 17 humanitarian ocean swimmer Monte Monfore conquered the dangerous four-kilometer Bali Strait between Java and Bali.  The Satu Hati Education Swim was part of a nation-wide campaign promoting children’s education in Indonesia.

In a pre-swim announcement the 46-year-old swimmer from California, USA spoke to more than 20 members of the media.  When asked about the high winds and rough seas he explained the Pocari Sweat and ANTV Peduli-sponsored swim would be difficult because of the unfavorable conditions.  “This is one of the interesting aspects of ocean swimming as one can never accurately predict Mother Nature,” he commented.  The marathon swimmer then spoke about the Satu Hati Campaign and the importance of education.  He dedicated his swim to “the children of Indonesia”.

The Swim

Monte began his challenge at 5:52am (Java time) at Pasir Puti in West Bali National Park in Northwest Bali .  As his smooth and powerful stroke carried him into the channel a strong current began pulling the swimmer south.  Soon he encountered swirling water and choppy seas, which hampered his swim nearly the entire crossing.

The convergence of two great bodies of water, the Indian Ocean and the Java Sea, creates treacherous currents in the Bali Strait.  Approximately three kilometers at its narrowest and widening to more than six, the channel is sometimes unsafe for boats to navigate.

As the Bali-resident swimmer crossed the channel approximately every 10 minutes he took a 10-15 second drink break.  Battling the turbulent waters, he strictly obeyed international channel swimming rules: no fins, no wetsuit, and no touching the support boat. 

One kilometer from Java the strong southward current pulled the endurance athlete into the path of a large ferry boat leaving Ketapang Harbor.  The Navy Captain piloting the main support boat ordered the ship by radio to divert its course and make way for the passing swimmer.

The Finish

Despite the adverse conditions an extraordinary performance saw Monte reach the shore of Banyuwangi, East Java at 6:53am, following an arduous one-hour one-minute swim.  His arrival point was more than 8 kilometers from the Bali departure point.  He had swum approximately 4 kilometers west and was pulled more than 4 kilometers south by the strong waters.  (The swimmer holds records for the fastest single, double, and triple-crossing of the Bali Strait.)

Upon his finish Monte was greeted by Banyuwangi government officials and cheered by a crowd of supporters and onlookers.  Immediately following the swim East Javanese dancers accompanied by a traditional Gandrung Orchestra performed for the athlete and media.

In a post-swim press conference the swimmer addressed the media.  When asked about his performance and how he felt he replied, “That was a difficult swim.  I’m tired, but I feel great.  This is about something very important, however, which is Indonesian school children.  This swim is part of the Satu Hati Campaign promoting a brighter future for Indonesian children through books and education.” 

Millennium Campaign

Monte continued, “My swimming often supports the United Nations Millennium Campaign, which aims to end extreme poverty and hunger with global initiatives called Millennium Development Goals.  In fact, goal number two is ‘Achieve Universal Primary Education’, which means ensuring every child in the world receives an education.  Education is key in breaking the cycle of poverty and hunger.  The Satu Hati Campaign directly relates to this objective and I’m very happy to join Pocari Sweat and ANTV Peduli in supporting this worthy contribution to the children of Indonesia.”

When asked about the white wrist-band he was wearing the swimmer responded, “This is the international symbol of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty.  The Millennium Campaign gave my crew and I one hundred of these bracelets last year.   They asked us to distribute them to the media and crowd when I swam across late Batur in Bali last October.  On the same day as my Bali Swim For Peace and Against Poverty 23.5 million people around the world Stood Up Against Poverty and Stood Up For the Millennium Development Goals.  Actually thousands of people joined rallies in Aceh, Bandung, Jakarta, Makasar, and elsewhere and I think it’s wonderful Indonesians participated in this global fight against extreme poverty and hunger.”

Supporting Children’s Education

Monte then invited TV viewers to participate in the campaign asking them “to donate books or send money by SMSing the numbers on the screen”.   He concluded wishing a Happy Independence Day to the crowd and the media.

At the post-swim media lunch at Watu Dodol Hotel more than one thousand children’s books from the Banyuwangi community were presented to Monte on behalf of the Satu Hati Campaign by local tourism authority Aguk Wahyu Nuryadi.

The day after his channel crossing Monte joined a live ANTV broadcast from Prambanan Temple in Yogyakarta where, following a video viewing of his swim, he spoke about education and the Satu Hati Campaign.  He thanked the people of Banyuwangi for their “generous book donation to the children of Indonesia”.

Past and Future Swims

Earlier this year in May Monte swam from Lombok to Gili Trawangan as part of a global World Food Programme event supporting hungry school children.  In June 2006 the humanitarian swimmer’s four-hour Yogyakarta Earthquake Relief Swim raised awareness and support for victims of the tragedy.

Continuing his serious of swims promoting the UN Millennium Campaign, later this year the athlete will swim to support the Bali Community Cares organization for children of HIV/ADIS patients and he plans a Reverse Climate Change Swim during the UN Climate Change Convention in Bali in December.

Euro Bali is pleased to support Monte‘s swimming and humanitarian efforts.  Donate to hungry children and see swim videos at


Photo credit: Erik Wijaya

Monte Monfore