In what’s being called “Speedo Diplomacy”, swimmers from around the world covered the distance from Imperial Beach to Las Playas de Tijuana to help raise awareness and funds for the Colibri Center for Human Rights. The non-profit organization helps families of those who have died while trying to enter the United States illegally.
The 12 athletes from the United States, Mexico, Israel, New Zealand and South Africa were escorted by a Mexican Navy ship as they reached a beach in Tijuana, a short distance from a border fence that juts into the Pacific Ocean.
Organizer Kim Chambers of New Zealand was overwhelmed by the jubilant reception. She said water connects all of us, no matter which direction you're going.
In the spirit of celebrating Mexican-American culture on Cinco de Mayo, the swimmers say they took to the ocean to also encourage dipomacy between the United States and Mexico.
The international swim was viewed as controversial, given the political climate against illegal immigration and the proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico. However, the group said that the swim is in no way a protest against the border wall.
“The goal of our swim is to use swimming as a tool, as an expression of kindness, to cast a global spotlight on human rights,” said one swimmer.