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Jimmy Carroll is the co-founder of Pelorus and one of the swimmers in this brave team. As well as a Royal Geographic fellow, Jimmy is a mountain leader and advanced diver with a passion for wildlife and adventure.

Jimmy is one of the six swimmers who are taking on the challenge to relay swim 140km around the island of Ibiza in May 2024. They will tackle the sea head-on, swimming in two-hour intervals as a relay team, with non-stop movement until they finish their journey.

Our Marketing and Communications Executive Luis Zafra sat down with Jimmy to discuss what the challenge represents for marine conservation efforts.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what attracted you to the Ibiza Swim? 

I think for a long time, I have always been attracted to pushing myself physically and mentally, and that was really the basis of where all of my challenges have come from, with the most recent one being the row across the Atlantic. But that was a few years ago, so I’ve been looking for a new challenge. When Sophie mentioned the swim, she caught my imagination and attention, and we took it from there. I think the really interesting part here is that we can have a very positive effect in raising funds. When it comes to ocean conservation, people can actually see the effects of what’s going on in the oceans, especially in the Mediterranean where they go for a holiday. The swim will resonate well with them and get their attention. Also, there’s a world record up for grabs as well, and that’s always a nice added benefit. 


What place do the ocean and swimming have in your life?

I am co-founder of Pelorus and we create incredible holidays all over the world, both land based and yacht based, so the oceans are an integral part of that. If you watch programmes and read books and newspapers, you’re able to really understand how important issues are to the whole biodiversity and the ecosystem of the world in general, not just about ocean biodiversity, but the effects that they have on the land as well. So that’s incredibly important, and we want to continue to push forward with protecting the oceans and preserving them so future generations can enjoy what we still enjoy now.


How do you stay motivated during periods of intense training or when facing tough competitions?

Well, I’ve never done a swimming challenge before. I wouldn’t call myself a swimmer, but I’ve learned to call myself a rower when I rowed the Atlantic. So that’s what I like, learning a new discipline and training towards it with a goal and a mission at the end. I like pushing myself to where you find your levels of enjoyment start to kick in. That is what drives me forward and I need physical activity in order to keep me motivated in all my other areas of life.


 How do you collaborate with your teammates to achieve collective goals? What role do you think teamwork will play in this Ibiza Swim?

We are definitely doing this as a team, so on the physical and mental side and preparation, we’ve got to work as a team. You know, you’re only as strong as your weakest person, so it’s up to all of us to bring everyone through the training to the right level in order to succeed in the mission. But also the mental preparation is important as well, and getting everyone to the right state of mind, as well as talking to each other about mental resilience and things that may start to wear you down as you go through the training process. And then the actual challenge itself, so there’s multiple areas and we’re much stronger as a team than as individuals. When it comes to the actual challenge we will be swimming as a team in a relay. Therefore we’re going to have to look out for each other, watching each other, seeing how we’re doing physically, and mentally as well. We need to be able to adapt to make changes if needed, given the basis of the conditions and fatigue setting in, and the duration of the swim, because it’s going to be over multiple days in order to complete the distance.


 Do you think swimming in open water has deepened your connection to the ocean and marine life? Has it inspired you to take action for conservation?

Absolutely. There’s no better way of wanting to be involved as when you can see firsthand with your own eyes. As you’re swimming through the water, the damage that humans have done to the planet. And so, yeah, we encourage more and more people to get out and look. And we also want to encourage people to enjoy and not just see all the damage, but actually see the beauty of what’s under the water. So that’s a key part to it, as well as understanding. We know less about what’s going on beneath the surface of the oceans than probably what’s happening in our solar system.


 Can you share any specific encounters or observations you’ve had during your swims that have reinforced the importance of marine conservation?

I was on holiday in Ibiza last year, and I saw the rise in jellyfish in and around the ocean, so that’s a direct consequence of humans destroying the biodiversity and ecosystem. When you start to see that in the volumes that it is, you really go wow, okay, we need to do something. You can see it even in the British Isles from erosion of coastlines, to the waste of rocks and pollution n UK beaches and beaches all over the world. So it’s right there in front of you. It’s hard not to see it.

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 In your opinion, what are the most pressing threats to marine ecosystems today, and how can swimmers and athletes play a role in addressing these challenges?

Well, I think this comes onto multiple levels. So obviously waste. Plastic is a massive, massive issue. In the marine environment but also a learning environment for more scrutiny because it just flakes, and it becomes ingested by sea life, and then that ends up affecting food chains in many respects, and damaging ocean biodiversity. Also, it’s not just about animals and just seeing it. It’s people as well. There’s been a long time surfing organisation called Surfers Against Sewage that is all about surfers ingesting human waste and plastic and all sorts of other waste that was floating in the oceans when out enjoying the ocean and being with nature. Then you go into the wildlife part of it and the destruction of the biodiversity and ecosystems such as the kelp forests and everything which helped balance it all. So, yeah, it’s super important.


 Looking ahead, what are your future aspirations or goals in terms of combining your passion for swimming with marine conservation? How do you envision yourself making a lasting impact in this field?

Well, I’ve already created one charity initiative for marine conservation. I created the London to Monaco bike ride back in 2016 which was the inaugural bike ride from London to the Monaco Yacht Show for another marine based charity. We’ve done that ride five or six times now and have raised over two million pounds. So this is my second endeavor into ocean conservation, which I’m very much looking forward as a first with the Pelorus Foundation and Pelorus. Let’s see where it goes and what kind of legacy we can create and lead from it. Maybe not just swimming around Ibiza, maybe we have to create a race as an annual event. Yeah, there’s boundless opportunities and we can do this. First of all, we need to complete this mission and we need to log it into the Guinness World Records and raise considerable funds for Pelorus Foundation in doing so. And have a lot of fun, most of all. 

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