A swim From Koh Phangan To Koh Tao

12 Feb 2021

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Gene Giraudeau has been swimming (thanks to her first teacher, her mother) since she was only two years old.  

She started swimming in eaves (races) at age seven.  By age 11, she had already done her first open water swim...a 1.6km race!

How did you come to know about Koh Phangan?
I used to live on Koh Tao for, about 3 and a half years, beginning in  2010.  I have visited Koh Phangan only a few times.

Where is your favourite place location on Phangan?   
I really loved Bottle Beach.

Where did you swim to and from?
How long did it take?
I did the swim from Koh Ma in Chaloklum Koh Phangan to Koh Tao.  It started from Koh Ma at two o'clock in the morning, then ended in Koh Tao around 3:30pm.  
The entire swim took 36 hours and 23 mins.

Do you have any advice for beginer swimmers? 
Anything you’d like our readers to know about swimming or life in general?

You can do anything you put your mind too. 
Never give up!

How do you keep going during a long distance swim? 
I had an iPod and a speaker in a dry dock bag attached to the kayak so I could listen to music...It breaks the boredom.  But mostly, I thought about my stroke rate and stroke.

What kind of thoughts are running through your mind (what's your mindset) as you are swimming the distance?   
Training is the most important things for these long distance swims.  If prepared correctly, the swim should go easy.  
As long as you keep your mind positive throughout the swim you can keep going.

You did it non-stop!?!...is that even possible!?... or, is that a silly question?
So this type of swim is called a non stop swim.  
I did the swim according to the marathon swimming federation rules.  
I was not allowed to touch the boat (at any time) nor was anyone allowed to touch me.  
I did stop to drink and eat...
but I did this while treading water.

What training tool(s) do you feel help you to best prepare for a long distance swim?  
I train six day's a week:  during the weekday's I swim 4-5km / during the week I swim 10-15km sessions. 
It's important to be consistent.

What is the most difficult or challenging workout or long distance swim you have ever done?
This was the longest swim I have ever done.  
I hope and plan to go even further in the next couple of years.

So no partying?
Today  I am still on vacation from the swim...and enjoying it.  I stopped drinking for the swim and can't seem to get back into it.  Believe me, I have tried!

What are you going to do today in order to be the best possible athlete in the future? 
A positive mind makes the best athlete.

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?  
Do you have an ultimate goal?

My ultimate goal would be to do a 48 hour swim, not many people in the world have done this before.

Do you have any idea of where you want to accomplish this 48hr swim to and from?
Not yet, I'm going to try the 24 hour swim first here from Chumphon...one step at a time!

Who or what is your inspiration? 
I have always loved open water swimming, it's great to see how far you can push your body.  
One of my great inspirations is Diana Nyad.  She swam from Cuba to Florida at the age of 65.

What is your motivation?
I wanted to do this swim for a good cause...so I used the swim to raise money in order to help save sharks.  
So far we have raised almost $5000 (together) for both Project Aware and Finathon.

Where in the world is your favorite swim spot?
Aow Leuk, it's a beautiful beach on Koh Tao.  Great for swimming.  It even has some baby sharks there at the moment!  That is where I have been training while I waited to do the long distance swim.

What are your future plans? 
Well I now have my eyes set on a swim from Chumphon to Koh Tao...70km distance.  This would be a 27 hour swim.
I am living in South Korea at the moment but originally from South Africa. I would love to move back home in the next few years. I will definitely still be swimming.