Six hours and 20 minutes. It is the time that Pablo Fernández (Madrid, 1980) has needed to establish his third world record. On January 25, he became the first person to swim the 25 kilometers that separate Nicaragua from El Salvador. This area, where the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Fonseca converge, is home to one of the oldest shark sanctuaries in the world.
"Before leaving, many hours of physical and mental training were necessary, because this challenge requires a lot of psychology. The force of the currents make you get to spend hours totally stopped or even going back, "he tells the phone.
Swimming is one of his greatest passions, but not the only one. Fernandez has shown that he is capable of applying the perseverance, perseverance and conviction that he presents in the water in his vocation to undertake. After passing through the business school of Harvard University, he began to gain experience in consulting and finance, first at Boston Consulting Group and later at Santander Bank. But I wanted to go one step further. For this reason, he left his job to found together with another partner Clicars, a startup of car sales on-line that already accumulates 50 million euros in billing.
The work of your company is to digitize the sale of cars and, therefore, do not have any physical dealer. Its model is similar to that of Amazon, home delivery. Many of your customers buy vehicles without seeing them. You can try them 15 days or a thousand kilometers and if they are not satisfied, they give you back their money. And they do not do badly. In just three years, they boast of being the leading company in car sales on-line in Europe and have managed to be part of the PSA group, parent of companies such as Peugeot, Citroën and Opel.
The businessman of Carabanchel is convinced that there are considerable parallels between his sporting activity and the one he performs in the office. The idea of being a pioneer in covering his swimming itineraries is for him an incentive comparable to the one he perceives in his professional career. "The life of the entrepreneur is never to give up and move forward. My motto is: 'One stroke at a time'. In the challenges that I face, no matter how tired you are, you can always give one more stroke, and with entrepreneurship it is the same. When you feel passion for what you do and work hard to reach your goal you have the opportunity to differentiate yourself. Entrepreneurship is a long-distance race in which the fastest or the smartest do not always win; Sometimes the one who endures the most wins, "he defends.
And his endurance, at least in the sports field, is more than proven. With his last feat, Fernandez adds an important victory to a palmarés not negligible. In addition to swimming across the Strait of Gibraltar and the distance between Alcatraz and San Francisco, the Spaniard was the first person to swim from the Virgin Islands to Puerto Rico and across Senegal to the Gambia crossing the mouth of the river of the same name, with currents that he remembers similar to those of his last challenge. Not to mention the presence of crocodiles on its banks.
"In a moment I saw that the ship that was accompanying me was going adrift. It turns out that the crew members began to pray -Gambia and Senegal are Muslim-majority countries- and stopped to man it. I told them that it was dangerous to get away, because that was full of crocodiles, and they answered that nothing was going to happen to me because they were praying for me, "he recalls.
When he arrived with his team at the border with Nicaragua on his last adventure, the immigration office was closed. A group of soldiers approached them and told them that they should wait until they opened it even though they had all the papers in order. Time was pressing, because they depended on marine currents, and decided to take the bureaucratic risk and start without going through the office. "The beauty of these challenges is that they are always something totally new and, as such, you face new difficulties. There are always unforeseen events, as happens when you run a company. And sometimes you have to improvise to keep going. "
Fernandez is in favor of giving a meaning in solidarity to each of his adventures. After reaching the shores of El Salvador, the entrepreneur donated 10,000 euros to several primary schools in the country, as well as in Nicaragua and Honduras. His next challenge, which he intends to face in the coming months, could make him the first person in the world to cross over from the Philippines to Malaysia and has in mind to cross the Congo River in the near future.