SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation & Travel Issue 16, September 2016 - Page 115

“Surface runoff from a storm sometimes forces me out of the open water and into a pool,” says Filipowski. “It’s a little tougher to do a 15 km workout in a swimming pool but plans are adjusted on whether the conditions are safe or not.”

Usually found paddling alongside him in a kayak during training and authenticated swims is his husband Sonny Embleton. The two were married on Alki Beach in Seattle, WA in 2013 following Filipowski’s crossing of the English Channel.

The openly-gay swimmer has recently signed on as an athlete ambassador for Athlete Ally whose mission is to provide public awareness campaigns, educational programming and tools and resources to foster inclusive sports communities. Filipowski’s just completed circumnavigation of Manhattan was done in a rainbow Speedo.

“For people who are just figuring out who they are, it is important to have role models,” Filipowski says. “I want to be a visible LGBT athlete for others to see.”

Coming up in the first quarter of 2017, Filipowski will attempt the dangerous and unpredictable crossing of Cook Strait in New Zealand which is 27 kilometers. It will be another cold one with water temperatures at 16 degrees Celsius.

“Swimming in the open water gives me balance in my life,” he says. “It’s where I do my best thinking.”