What Inspires A World Record Swimmer?

World record swimmer Ori Sela tells us how he finds inspiration, stays healthy and helps thousands of ordinary people get fit and heal lower back pain through swimming.

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In 2014, Ori Sela swam and broke the world record with five friends in the longest relay open-water swim from Cyprus to Israel.  The team swam for 377 kilometers (234 miles) in an effort to raise awareness of sea pollution in the Mediterranean.  Speaking at a TEDxNicosia event in November, Ori tells how his open-water team got inspiration for their long distance challenge by collecting garbage from the sea during their swim.  “If you don’t have a dream, find a team and dream together.  And then, you’ll understand that everything is possible!”.

Ori’s life changed forever when 20 years ago, his father, a regular sea swimmer, was pulled to the ground by a high wave, breaking his neck.  Ori’s anger with the water slowly changed to forgiveness and today, he is a swimming instructor, qualified hydrotherapist and an open-water swim coach. He is also the founder and owner of Water World and the West Swimming Technique.  His dream is to teach and heal millions of people around the world who suffer from lower back pain with the the West Technique.

Here Ori answers Fit to Inspire’s Proust Fitness Questionnaire and helps inspire us with advice and words of wisdom.

What kind of fitness/exercise do you do now regularly?

I love to exercise, and I try to train 4 days a week with 5 different workouts. I do a 12 km run and 4.5 km swim on Sunday, a 4 km swim on Tuesday, a 10 km run on Wednesday and a 5-6km open water swim on Thursday.

What new sport/exercise would you like to do in this lifetime?

I love snowboarding, but unfortunately I can only do it once a year. So, I think it’s time to try kite surfing.

What is your idea of a perfectly ‘fit and healthy’ day?

I think the perfect healthy day would be to wake up at 6am, train for at least one hour, have breakfast and start a new and beautiful day, (my perfect week would include 5 times aerobic and 1 yoga or stretching session) but if I could, I wouldn’t change my schedule until I am 100!

What is your biggest fitness and well-being obstacle ever?

My biggest obstacle in life was when my second child, Libby, was born. I thought I could continue with my life, work and training, but… life taught me that sometimes you should embrace the beauty of change and not crash with your life.

What is your greatest motivation to get out the door and moving?

It gives me so much energy, and it allows me to eat almost everything I like.  Most importantly, I am calm, plus it makes me a better person, husband and father.

What is your all-time greatest fitness-related achievement?

Failing and then succeeding in breaking a world record in the longest open water six relay swim from Cyprus to Israel and understanding the enormous power of a team.

What would you say to people who have not yet discovered the mental and physical benefits of a regular fitness regime?

That it is a life-changing experience. You can start with small changes such as penciling in personal time twice a week; time for you and only you! Not work or family. Your time. And then, your life will change.

What is the best fitness / well-being advice you’ve ever received?

Never stop dreaming. Also, check on your life goal every four months.

Who has inspired fitness in you? And how will you inspire others to be fit this year?

Don’t try to be somebody else. Be yourself, listen to your body, and you will succeed.

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