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Stephanie Montero Completes Banderas Bay Swim for Whale Conservation

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – In a remarkable display of strength and commitment, Mexican open water swimmer Stephanie Montero Bending achieved an extraordinary feat by completing the Banderas Bay Crossing.

Montero swam an impressive 37.5 kilometers over 14 hours and 30 minutes, navigating from the Marietas Islands National Park in Nayarit to Las Gemelas Beach in Puerto Vallarta Jalisco, passing through the iconic Los Arcos National Marine Park. Her daring swim took place on November 18, sending a powerful message about the conservation of Humpback Whales in the Mexican Pacific.

Montero’s aquatic endeavor aligns with the criteria set by the Marathon Swimmers Federation (MSF) for a swimming marathon. According to MSF statutes, a swimming marathon involves an uninterrupted swim in open water, without assistance, covering a distance of 10 km or more.

Beyond the realm of sports, Montero’s crossing holds significance in both environmental and social spheres. Her accomplishment was accompanied by an impressive voluntary fundraising effort, amassing $526,000 pesos for Ecology and Conservation of Whales (ECOBAC). In collaboration with the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP), ECOBAC created RABEN, the National Network of Assistance to Entangled Whales and marine life.

Montero’s project brought together 30 experts and professionals from various disciplines, along with the support of more than 60 organizations, companies, media outlets, and authorities. This collaborative effort spanned comprehensive preparation, logistics, and management.

The culmination of these endeavors was the “1st Swim for Whales 2023” event, organized in conjunction with Karina Almanza, Yoselin Gloria, and Maricarmen Sierra. The event attracted 108 teams and over 1,000 competitors from Mexico and beyond.

In addition to the epic swim, Montero and her team conducted pre-event activities aimed at promoting environmental conservation. These activities included beach cleaning initiatives in the Marietas Islands, a conference for students in the region, and a play in the country’s capital.

Montero’s multifaceted approach not only showcased her athletic prowess but also highlighted the urgent need for marine conservation and the protection of majestic creatures like the Humpback Whale in the vibrant waters of Banderas Bay.

Congratulations, Stephanie!

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