1988 Renata Agondi

Renata Agondi

Brazilian swimmer Renata Agondi, 25, from San Paulo, died on 23 August 1988 about eight miles off the French coast while swimming from Dover. After ten hours and 45 minutes, she was pulled from the water but there had been a dispute on board the escort ship about who had the final responsibility for ending her swim.

The death became controversial; the 25-year-old Brazilian died from hypothermia and exhaustion after her coach had refused to let her leave the water. The pilot said the athlete’s trainer, Judith Russo, ignored his repeated advice to halt the swim, even though Agondi was in obvious distress. Russo was charged in France for “failing to assist a person in danger”. As a result, new rules were drawn up setting down a chain of command, ensuring that the pilot was the person who made the final decision about whether a swimmer should remain in the water.

Renata Câmara Agondi (born Santos , Brazil, February 8th 1963):

She started her swimming career at the Fluminense club in Rio de Janeiro, where she had lived since a child. Upon returning to her hometown of Santos, she shifted focus and began to devote herself to competitions in open water. At age 23, in 1986, she decided to leave Brazil and compete in Europe. She was the first Brazilian woman to make the crossing Capri-Napoli in Italy. She came in third, getting much press coverage. After this, she decided to cross the English Channel. Today the International Aquatic Marathon in Santos is called the Renata Agondi Trophy in her memory.

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