From the Office to the Open Water: A Journey of Determination and Resilience

Written by Hailee Atkins
From the Office to the Open Water: A Journey of Determination and Resilience


Beni Castellanos, Director of Product Development at Xvoucher, participated in a two-day 80 km (over 49 miles) swim for Indoquivir: The Big River Project, to raise money for the construction of a school for children with Cerebral Palsy in India.

Beni said he felt the importance of helping children in India who have special needs. He announced his intent to participate to the Xvoucher team and was thrilled by their willingness to contribute to the cause. From donations to support, the team rallied behind him. In total, around 10K€ out of the 300K€ goal was collected. He stated there is more work to be done but the social initiative of the challenge was a success. 

Continue reading to discover Beni Castellanos journey firsthand!

Screenshot 2023-06-12 at 3.46.54 PM

When did you become interested in swimming?

I’ve loved water since I was a baby. I trained a lot growing up, but at 17 I stopped swimming and decided to try other sports; like triathlons and running. A year ago, I was injured by fasciitis and began swimming more seriously again. It was the best activity to avoid pain in my feet.

What interested you in participating in the Indoquivir: The Big River Project?

This project has existed for several years and many of my friends have been involved. Prior to this year, I participated in different activities such as supporting the organization, and finding local sponsors. This year they invited me to join the sports area and I accepted immediately!

The real challenge and the reason for this project is to create a school in India for children with paralysis and with an important entity that has a great contribution to India. Honestly, changing the world and helping them was the main driver for my interest in this project.

Screenshot 2023-06-12 at 3.49.41 PM

How much training goes into participating in something like this?

It had several stages, but first I had to get used to the water and I had workouts of 2.5-3 km regularly, about five to six days a week. I normally train with a Master's team in my city of Seville, Spain, so I have access to a good plan of workouts. I swim with people preparing for a national or international championship, so it's always fun to join people at the swimming pool. 

After about a year with this routine, I started increasing the volume to get an average of 17-20 km a week. Three months before the challenge, I had about 3 or 4 long journeys with the Indoquivir team in open waters for workouts of 10-12 km. From this training, I became used to long distances. Two weeks before the challenge I started swimming very short distances to be ready for the challenge.

Having challenges like this in mind is a great excuse to be in shape and get the discipline to train, look after my diet and be active.

Screenshot 2023-06-12 at 3.49.54 PM

How many of these types of swims have you participated in?

Honestly, this is the first time I've swam 80 km in a row and I don’t know  if I would do it again. I feel that going to races or sports events is a big business, but I prefer this kind of challenge with friends where there is a significant impact on people. For example, going to the NYC Marathon would be great, but there is a huge business around it. I prefer going to the sea and participating in long-distance sailing. This month I am going to Italy with my family and friends for a 14 km race, but just for fun.

What advice would you give to someone interested in swimming?

The water is the best environment to avoid injuries. If you are someone who works in front of a computer daily, which can cause strain on your back, then swimming may be for you! It also allows you to disconnect from technology. Plus, all you need is a swimsuit and goggles. If you want to try something harder there are fins and swimming paddles but no real equipment is needed.

Screenshot 2023-06-12 at 3.49.48 PM