Extreme Open Water Swimming

On August 23, 2012 by Nelson Fernandez
open water swimming

Open water swimming

Open water swimmer Diana Nyad has had to abandon her attempt to become the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, half way through.

The 63-year-old American woman couldn’t complete the 103 mile swim from Cuba to Key West, Florida after more than 41 hours in the water enduring cold, jellyfish and stormy weather.

Still, her undertaking is more than remarkable, and places her right besides the bravest, strongest and more stoic swimmers of all times.

To celebrate the colossal effort of Diana, let’s list some of the hardest open water swimming challenges ever:

Philippe Croizon swims from Alaska to Russia

He may not be the first person to swim the icy waters of the Bering Strait from Alaska to Russia – in fact, he’s just the second – but this Frenchman is surely the only limbless human in doing so.

And if you think that this has been an (exceptional) one-off, it’s just fair to remember than Philippe Croizon – whose limbs were amputated after he suffered an accident in 1994 – has crossed the waterways connecting the continents of Oceania, Asia, Europe, Africa, and America.

Oh, he did also swim the English Channel.

David Meca swims Alcatraz with chains

This is the story of a Spanish open water swimming champion who was banned from competition after he allegedly used a banned performance enhancer.

After the scandal, he swam across San Francisco Bay to Alcatraz Island in shark-infested waters with extreme temperatures, strong water currents and shackles round his ankles to make a point about his innocence – escaping from prison, you get it?

Darko Novovik breaks record for swimming Amazon

Serbian Darko Novovik took 46 days to swim the 3,387 miles of the Amazon river in 2010. Sharks, anacondas, piranhas and extreme whirlpools where in the mix, so his team had to keep the creatures at bay with a makeshift suspended net around the swimmer.

His recollection of finding a crocodile illustrates what swim in these waters may feel like: “When I saw him I started to panic and manically swim faster, only later on I realised the crocodile was dead and was eaten by piranhas.”