Jake Vella

Jake Vella is a 12-year-old long distance swimmer. At the age of 5, Jake noticed that he was gaining weight and made it a point to start exercising regularly. He started walking and running, whilst also taking care of his nutrition by consuming healthier food.

 

Weeks went by but Jake didn’t see any positive results and kept gaining weight at a steady pace. At that point, his parents talked to an endocrinologist and suggested that Jake be subjected to a number of tests. After several months, they discovered that Jake suffers from a very rare condition, called the ROHHAD (Net) Syndrome.

 

 

Despite this news, fuelled by his passion for sport, Jake was determined to keep going and started training triathlon. Triathlon is a sport containing three distinct disciplines – swimming, cycling, and running. Jake expressed his love for this sport and stated that he enjoys it as training sessions are varied every day, despite it not being an easy sport. After three years training triathlon, Jake started experiencing leg pain during his running and cycling session, mainly due to the repetitive impact on the legs. As the pain increased, Jake had no other choice than to stop training these two disciplines.

 

This was another major setback, but it did not stop him. He shifted his focus fully on long-distance swimming. On his recovery days, Jake still enjoys During his recovery days, Jake still enjoys some indoor cycling, rowing, or kayaking, with light impact on his legs.

 

In 2018, Jake won Most Inspiring Person at the Lovin Malta Social Media Awards and in 2019 he completed his first charity swim – a 1.7-kilometre open water swim from St Paul’s Islands to Bugibba, raising funds for the Association of Abandoned Animals (AAA).  At the 60th Edition of the SportMalta Awards, held on 20 February 2022,  Jake also won the People’s Choice Award.

 

In November 2020, Jake attempted another charity swim challenge to one again raise money for the AAA, whilst raising awareness for the Wave of Change, a challenge aimed at picking up plastic from our seas. As part of charity swim, Jake swam a total of 33.8 kilometres (the equivalent of the English Channel) in a 25-metre pool, and completed the challenge in a time of 17hours, 7 minutes and 56 seconds spread over a 14-day timeframe.   

 

In the Summer of 2021, he decided to organise another challenge to raise further funds for the AAA and to promote awareness on plastic contamination in our seas. This time, the challenge was to complete a 100-kilometre swim in a 25-metre pool and complete it in less than 28 days. On 23 June 2021, Jake started the challenge and swam an average of 5 kilometres daily. He completed this challenge in only 20 days with a cumulative time of 33 hours, 15 minutes, and 39 seconds.

Jake is an ambitious individual.  He even told us that he has more projects in the pipeline lined up for the future!

 

Kudos to Jake! 

 

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