Longest solo unassisted ocean swim: Penny Palfrey sets world record (HD Video)
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Penny Palfrey, an Australian-British swimmer mother-of-three, braved shark-infested waters become the first person to swim the nearly 70 miles (112 kilometres) between Grand Cayman island and Little Cayman in the Caribbean in 40 hours and 41 minutes , setting the world record for the Longest solo unassisted ocean swim.
Photo: Penny Palfrey waves to the crowd after coming ashore at Morritts Tortuga, Cayman Islands. Penny Palfrey set the record for the longest solo unassisted ocean swim when she conquered the 67 miles (108km) between Little Cayman Island and Grand Cayman Island in the Caribbean. Photo: Reuters (enlarge photo)
The previous world record was 101 km.
The Guinness world record for the longest distance ever swum without flippers in open sea is 225 km (139.8 miles) by Veljko Rogosic (Croatia) across the Adriatic Sea.
Guinness World Records also recognized the longest distance swam underwater with one breath (open water): 150 m (492 ft 1 in) by Carlos Coste (Venezuela) in the Dos Ojos cave system in Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Unassisted means she swam without a cage and with no wetsuit.
Penny Palfrey, almost unrecognizable when she touched dry land, took 40 hours and 41 minutes to cover the distance, which beat the previous ocean swimming record of 63 miles (101km).
Sharks twice came within about 33 feet (10m) of Palfrey, who was not protected by a cage, but fast-thinking crew kept them at bay. She admitted later that during the night she thought she may have kicked an inquisitive shark.
She was also stung three times by jellyfish.
The 48-year-old was unable to speak afterwards because her mouth and tongue were severely swollen, but she was still able to acknowledge the hundreds of people that greeted her on the beach, raising her arms in triumph.
The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism says Penny Palfrey completed the swim in 40 hours and 41 minutes.
The tourism department said in a statement Palfrey is the first person to make the journey without assistance.
She had no wet suit or shark cage and stayed in the water for breaks.
The 48-year from Townsville, North Queensland, was hospitalized for observation when her swim ended.
She was the first woman to swim the Alenuihaha Channel from Hawaii to Maui and the first person to swim from Santa Barbara Island to Point Vincente off California.
"This was the longest unassisted ocean solo swim," said Steven Munatones, a swim adviser and observer for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.
To qualify for the record, according to Hall of Fame standards, the swimmer cannot use a shark cage, a wetsuit or flippers or draft off escort boats and must be verified by an independent observer.
"What Penny did physically and psychologically was beyond incredible."