Longest swim in a lagoon-world record set by
San Alfonso del Mar,Chile -- Mauro
Giaconia, 37, swam 101km (62 miles) in 24 hours in
a marathon endurance test in the vast sea-water swimming pool
Alfonso del Mar resort hotel-setting the world record
for the Longest
swim in a lagoon. Photo: Italian swimmer Mauro
Giaconia, 37, swims in the swimming pool listed as
the world's largest in the Book of Records at the resort of
San Alfonso del Mar, near Algarrobo city on the western coast
of Chile, some 100 km (62 miles) west of Santiago. Photos
Eliseo Fernandez / Reuters (enlarge
The swimmer described yesterday how his tongue
grew numb after hours of pushing through salt water. He expects
to lose his sense of taste for up to two months – "but that
usually happens with sea water," he said.
Giaconia struggled to keep swimming on course in the
pool, which is itself a record holder – it is the world's
largest at 1,013m (3,324ft) long. It covers an area of 20
acres and reaches as deep as 35m.
Lifeguards switched on the lights at night, but
he eventually opted to swim in the dark. "I kept going with
a lot of enthusiasm to do the task," he said.
He describes himself on his website
as a sportsman who "likes extreme and challenging sports,
even if they mean hours of solitude". He was recently voted
sportsman of the year in Palermo, Sicily. (enlarge
photo) He was only 14 years old when he began long-distance
swimming in Palermo. After briefly "flirting" with kite surfing,
boxing and cycling, he returned to his real passion of swimming
and has spent the past eight years setting endurance records.
He has swum marathons over 12 and 24 hours in
both swimming pools and the open sea, from the gulf of Palermo
to the Strait of Gibraltar.
He warmed up for the record in San
Alfonso del Mar, on the west coast of Chile, 80km
from the capital, Santiago, by swimming three 24-hour races
in Austria, Italy and the United States.
MARATHON swimming is an endurance sport
defined by the International Swimming Federation to be a swim
of least 10km in length, and swimmers cannot use wet suits.