Bogdan Cosmin Zurbagiu - Black Sea (Agigea - Mangalia)

Agigea to Mangalia

33.8 km (21.0 miles)

9 hours, 25 minutes on 26 June 2022

Observed and documented by Leontin Mihai




Support Personnel


Leontin Mihai

Leontin was part of the support team during Bogdan’s 115 km marathon swim on Danube. Leontin offered support during 2/3 shifts (>15 hours), including the night swim, obtaining a hands on strong sense of the marathon swimming roles and rules.

Leontin is an amateur long distance triathlete, marathon runner and open water swimmer, with multiple participations in local and international masters and amateur races, over more than 10 years. He also has training in CPR/first aid. In his professional life being a regulatory specialist in the national financial regulatory authority.

Leontin is only acquainted to the swimmer, he is not family related, not a coach of the swimmer and in no other position that could affect his capacity to objectively evaluate the swim and adherence to MSF rules.

In assistance of the observer Leontin MIHAI, have been: his daughter Maria MIHAI and in rotation with the assistance role to observer (not in the same time as support crew role) Andrei DAVID, marathon swimmer (Vidraru Lake pending MSF ratification) & amateur long distance triathlete.

Escort Vessel

Name Type Port
NITRO sailboat, 11m Port Snagov

Swim Parameters

  • Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.
  • Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
  • Equipment used: Textile swimsuit (TYR brief), TYR goggles, white silicone swim cap, sun cream, Desitin, vaseline.

Route Definition

  • Body of Water: Black Sea
  • Route Type: one-way
  • Start Location: Agigea town, in front of Pescaria lui Matei fishery (44.08411, 28.64359)
  • Finish Location: Mangalia harbor, the Genovese lighthouse (43.803357, 28.589203)
  • Minimum Route Distance: 33.8 km (21.0 miles) (map)


No known previous swims of this route.

Swim Data

  • Start: 26 June 2022, 07:05 (EU Eastern Summer Time, Europe/Bucharest, UTC3).
  • Finish: 26 June 2022, 16:30
  • Elapsed: 9 hours, 25 minutes, 0 seconds.

Summary of Conditions

Feature Min Max
Water Temp (C) 20.5 22.3
Air Temp (C) 20.6 24
Wind (knots) 8.7 15.2

Local weather reports

GPS Track

Trackpoint frequency: 20 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).

Click to expand map.

Speed Plot

Observer Log

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by Bogdan Zurbagiu

What inspired you to do this swim?

The organization of this swim and the decision to try it were influenced by several aspects:

  • In 2021, I swam a short part of this route, between Agigea and Eforie, as part of the Swimathon event and I was familiar with the "start" place, next to Pescaria lui Matei

  • As early as 2020, I was registered for a 30 kilometers swim in June, in the Mediterranean Sea, south of France, but for various reasons and mainly due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, the event was postponed from one year to the next, so that I arrived in 2022 without an organized swim, although I had prepared for one

- Initially, I intended to organize another route, but due to the invasion of Russia, the plan was postponed, if not canceled

The distance was considered as the greatest distance between two ports, on the Romanian coast, without daring to cut the entrances to the ports and possibly disrupt the port activity.

Initially, I would have gone to the farthest beach in Mangalia, but my friends who knew the place and found out about the rules that I proposed to apply (MSF), suggested that I go out to a landmark of the city of Mangalia, The Genoese lighthouse from the Mangalia port entrance.

In addition, I knew that no one, until this moment, had succeeded in this swimming; as were the other innovative adventures from the Belis, Vidrarux2, Bicaz, Razelm Lakes.

Describe how you planned for the swim.

For the organization of swimming, I thought about the structure of the assistance and observation team.

We needed a strong boat, led by an experienced pilot and a handful of brave, available people, in the role of assistance or observation, who ideally had knowledge of what marathon swimming means.

Thus, the team was formed by:

  • Leontin MIHAI, long-distance triathlete, marathoner, open water swimmer, who in 2021 was present in 2 of the 3 shifts of assistants, who supported me in the record swim on the Danube (125, 8km, almost 29 hours, according to marathon swim rules). Practically, Leontin was in my assistance, continuously, for more than 16 hours.

  • Andrei DAVID, long-distance triathlete, marathoner, open water swimmer, who in 2021 completed a double crossing of Lake Vidraru, according to marathon swimming rules

  • Marius HEREA, former performance athlete (wrestling), sports lover. A man who was Andrei's assistant in the Vidraru swim, when I contributed as observer.

Taking into account the experience of each one, the contact with the rules of marathon swimming, the objectivity that had to be ensured from the role of observer - I considered that Leontin would be the most suitable, among the three, to be my observer and he contributed from the role as main observer.

I find it funny that Leontin, in his professional life, works within an authority that fulfills supervisory and regulatory roles, including over my professional area - in what has been my ex-job for 15 years.

During the swim and sometimes, however, depending on the difficulties of the moment, Andrei, when he did not fulfill the role of assistant (when Marius did), acted in support of the observer Leontin by communicating to him what food was offered or possible observation/video recording data.

The skipper was Radu NICOLAITA, an orthopedic doctor by profession, a man I did not have the chance to meet before swimming; about whom I have only words of praise and respect for the way he took care of me and the team on board the boat. The boat was sensational, an 11-meter competition sailboat, extremely agile, called Nitro.

By the way, on board the boat were also two teenagers, Maria and Teodora, daughters of Leontin and Andrei, who helped their fathers, and me, as much as they could (a lot), always with a smile on their faces.

For a charitable purpose, in our charity fundraise in support of the program of the Daruieste Aripi Association, the swimming took place as an event in two marathon sports disciplines: swimming and running. The runner was Bogdan DRANCEANU, who braved the heat for 76 kilometers, in a synchronized way that let both of us meet at the arrival point, The Genoese lighthouse. Bogdan was joined by a great Romanian ultra-marathonist, Regina TIRCOMNICU; athlete who has among other a national champion title in 2021, in ultramarathon running (121.66 km in 12 hours).

How did the swim go, generally? Did you face any unanticipated challenges?

At the start, the boat was offshore, approximately 200-300 meters away, for safety reasons (water depth) - where Radu, Andrei and Teodora were waiting; they slept on board overnight.

Near the shore, from an inflatable kayak, Leontin, Marius and Maria observed the start.

For GPS tracking we used the Spot Gen4 tracker, the mobile GPS tracking application and Garmin watches - all within Leontin's reach, none on swimmer.

The nutrition plan was broadly planned before the swim, on which Andrei intervened with recommendations such as the introduction of magnesium; and during the swim the plan was followed, updated and administered by the assistance team (Andrei or Marius).

The swim was done in TYR briefs, a silicone swim cap (from the Rottnest swim, AUS 2019) and a pair of TYR goggles. For sun protection and anti-friction, I used cream with a high sun protection factor, a cream based on zinc oxide (Desitin) and sports Vaseline in some areas.

In general, everything went very well.

We started on a calm sea, from the golf area, but as we went out to sea, the waves and the swell started to make their presence felt.

We had to, for safety reasons, swim approximately one nautical mile offshore, at depths of 7-10 meters minimum.

In the first hour it was more difficult, until the captain and I settled in, because the plan at home was to rely on the direction given by the boat, me giving the speed. Moreover, being between the waves, sometimes I could not see the shore.

Considering the waves and the fact that some of the crew members got seasick, somehow we all agreed that the boat should move forward a few tens of meters so as to allow it to position itself perpendicular to the wave (or at times circle me), and I was going to take my reference/ direction by visualizing ahead.

Surprisingly, for me it went better than I expected, because normally looking with the head forward/ sighting puts tension on the lower back, which is already tense due to the position of the body in the salty water, and there are a lot of rhythm interruptions, where getting back up to speed involves a supplement of force.

At one point I asked how far I had traveled, I understood that everything was going very well and it was.. I had done about 12 kilometers in 3 hours.

Slowly, slowly, I passed by the landmarks... Cape Tuzla and the shipwreck of the Greek ship “Evangelia” from Costinesti, I was going to orient myself towards colorful groups of buildings/hotels on the Romanian coast. (lol, as I write this – I realize my next swim was in Greek waters “Mt Athos Gulf”, I should have brought the shipwreck back to port)

After almost 8 hours, we started to see the pier at Mangalia and the entrance to the port.

At the entrance to the port of Mangalia, I had the two most unpleasant experiences... Jellyfish stung me, even though I was swimming all the time through pieces of jellyfish and a motor boat was actually going to pass over me.

I won't comment more that our sailboat had hoisted the Alfa flag, which signals a diver to the water.. it was a bit late to educate the driver of the motor boat. Finally, they saw me, after they passed me.

I do not know if a more colorful helmet would have improved my visibility, but surely a safety buoy (not allowed by rules) would have helped. In the conditions of my swimming, the safety buoy was not allowed according to the marathon swimming rules, but in general, the use in training is strongly recommended.

At the end, I went out/ clear the water at the Genovese Lighthouse, where family and friends, including Carmina CAPITANU and Ionut CONSTANTIN from Litoral TV and Realitatea TV, and Bogdan DRANCEANU and Regina TIRCOMNICU, at the end of the ultramarathon run awaited me.

My 5 years old, Simina, can be heard laughing in the background, shouting "daddy, mommy forgot the towel at home".. See whence the photo after arrival with the pink towel comes from .


Click to enlarge.



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