Swimmer and anti-pollution activist Neil Agius is in the final stretch of his attempt to beat the world record for the longest open water swim.

Agius is due to reach Xlendi Bay in Gozo after spending almost three days in the sea.

In an update on Wednesday evening, his team urged people to get "a boat, a kayak, the fast ferry" to greet the 35-year-old Olympian. 

"This is history in the making. And it deserves as much of us as possible to be there when he hits land after being in the water after two sunsets, two sunrises and super human strength," his team said. 

Earlier in the morning, his team said he was on "super" form and by midday, he had covered 100km after 25 hours of non-stop swimming. 

The former Olympian hopes to beat the previous world record for the longest continuous, unassisted, current-neutral swim along a single-segment natural route in an ocean, sea or bay, which was set at 124.4km.

He started his swim on Monday evening from Linosa, an Italian island north of Lampedusa, to Malta, a distance of 130 km.

The original plan was for Agius to end his swim in Malta, but the course of the route had to be moved further north due to opposing currents. 

Neil's location as of 5.36pm on Wednesday. Source: Wave of Change trackerNeil's location as of 5.36pm on Wednesday. Source: Wave of Change tracker

His challenge began with an unusual motivational boost: a marriage proposal from his long-term girlfriend Lara Vella.

After a difficult first night, where the 35-year-old battled ankle pain and strong currents, his team said the second night was much better, with the wind and current "now in Neil’s favour" despite there being a slight swell. 

“At 4:10am, two feeds before sunrise, this was a crucial moment. If the night went well, the final stretch would be all the more possible,” they said.

“The excitement and positive mindset of the crew is palpable through their short Sat Nav messages. Neil’s pace has increased from an average 2.5km per hour to 3.2km per hour. The morale is super. They can see Malta. He’s coming home.”

Aguis' original challenge was to swim from Tunisia to Sicily, but plans had to be changed due to bad weather. 

Earlier this month, as part of his training, Agius spent three days of swimming around Gozo in just over 41 hours.

However, the endurance swimmer had to cut short his attempt to swim three laps around Gozo in three days due to bad weather and almost risking hypothermia. 

Readers can follow the swim live, on the Wave of Change race tracker

Agius is swimming to raise awareness of plastic waste in the sea and is asking people to support him by getting involved in the ‘Double the Wave’ challenge.

“If Neil can swim for two nights and two days, no stopping, no getting out of the water WE CAN ALL pick up 6 pieces of plastic and do a few reps of exercise,” his team said.

This can be done by:

• picking up six pieces of plastic;
• posting a video of yourself on social media doing six repetitions of your favourite exercise with the pieces of plastic in the video;
• Use #doublethewave and tag Wave Of Change Malta;
• Tag and nominate six people.

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