By George Tserdanis.
15-year-old Greek Australian, Eleni Efthimiou, has made history after placing second against all odds in a swimming race across the Corinth Canal in Greece on September 24. The Sydney girl also came in first place in the Marathon bay competition.
For many, these achievements come as no surprise as Eleni has been a shining star in the Australian swimming arena for many years.
Eleni has been swimming since she was three years old and is a member of the Carlile Swim Club, as well as the pre-national team. She has participated in the NSW State Championship in the 400m freestyle and in the Open Water Championships (5km).
For the last two years, she has participated in the Australian Open Water Championship (5 km in the ocean). She was also a member of the 4 x 1.25 kilometre team (under 14 years old), which won a silver medal at the Australian Open Water Championships.
But still, nothing compares to Eleni’s participation in the Corinth Canal race. She was one of 600 participants who were invited to swim a total of 6.5 kilometres across the Canal.
Always by her side during the competition were members of her family, including her mother Suzie Efthimiou, her father Bill, her grandmother and her grandmother’s first cousin and well-known wrestler, George Zorbas.
Eleni’s mother encouraged her to enter the race in the first place and she tells The Greek Herald that she went through moments of great anxiety as she watched some of the competitors drop out of the race, only to find her own daughter “disappear” in the currents.
“Imagine feeling like I was losing sight of my daughter, climbing up and down the bridge and thinking that if something happened to her I would be the reason I did everything she could to get involved,” Suzie tells The Greek Herald.
She later recalled the moment she saw her daughter reach a short distance from the finish line and compete with another swimmer who was trying to overtake her, managing to finish before him.
An impressive achievement winning her the admiration and praise of many!