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Incredible Swimming Records

If you follow swimming, or even just follow the news, you will have probably seen the extraordinary story of Sarah Thomas. After being treated for breast cancer a year ago she has become the first person to swim the English Channel four times non-stop!


This amazing achievement took the 37-year-old just over 54 hours and she ended up swimming close to 130 miles. On her incredible journey, she encountered several challenges including being stung in the face by jellyfish, dealing with the dangers of long exposure to chilly saltwater, and battling the strong current.


At Simply Swim, it got us thinking what about what other incredible Swimming records have been accomplished, so we did some research, and here are some of our favourites.



Keeping with the theme of open water long distance we have Veljko Rogosic. In 2006 the Croatian swam 139.8 miles in just over 50 hours which has been recorded as the longest distance ocean swim without fins. At an average speed of just under 2.8mph, this is an incredible feat even with beneficial currents.


Our next swimming record takes us 5,915 meters above sea level! It is, of course, the highest altitude swim which was achieved by five South Africans; Jean Craven, Herman van der Westhuizen, Chris Marthinusen, Even Feldman and Milton Brest. The team used pickaxes to cut open 30cm of ice to prepare a swimming lane. The five-minute swim had an average water temperature of 1.2°C and two of the record breakers completed it in speedos!



How far can you swim underwater on one breath? Carlos Coste swam an incredible 177 meters in just a single breath. The professional free diver was only allowed fins, a nose clip and goggles and took 3 minutes and 5 seconds. The longest distance swam underwater by a female in one breath is an equally impressive 160 meters and was achieved by Russian swimmer Veronika Kravtcova.


From how far to how fast. The highest speed reached by a swimmer in a pool without fins is 5.05mph by American David Edgar. To put this into perspective the sailfish holds the title as the quickest underwater animal and has been clocked at a super-speedy 68mph and even a 6.5-tonne Orca Whale is happy cruising around at speeds well over 30 mph.


Huge congratulations to everybody who holds or has attempted a swimming record, whether it is at your local swimming club or on a bigger stage.