Chilean swimmer sets record in frigid waters near Cape Horn

Santiago, Jun 15 (EFE).- Chilean swimmer Barbara Hernandez, the holder of the triple crown in open waters, on Wednesday went into the Guinness World Records for swimming three nautical miles (about 5,500 meters, or 3.4 miles) in the chilly waters near Cape Horn, Chile’s southernmost point.

The “Mermaid of the Ice” on Feb. 27, 2022, set a new record for swimming one mile – 15 minutes and 3 seconds – in the 7 C (45 F) waters in the Strait of Magellan, which connects the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans north of Antarctica.

“I feel happy and grateful for the opportunity to swim in such complicated and significant waters. I thank the crew of the Chilean navy vessel PSG Isaza, and also my team who enabled me to be safe,” Hernandez wrote on her Instagram account.

The 36-year-old athlete began her adventure in the city of Punta Arenas, in far southern Chile, from where she flew to Puerto Williams in a small plane. There, she boarded the navy vessel, which took her to Cape Horn, where she hoped for a favorable weather window during which she could make the crossing.

“I want all of Chile to feel this record belongs to them. It was a great effort and it’s the forerunner for the next world record we want to set in Antarctica,” said Hernandez, who is a trained psychologist and has been swimming in the world’s coldest waters since 2014.

In Chile, she swam 7 kilometers (4.34 miles) in 2 hours and 11 minutes in Lake Chungara, the world’s highest lake, more than 4,500 meters (14,760 feet) above sea level.

Hernandez is the first Chilean woman to hold the triple crown in swimming in open waters after in 2019 crossing the English Channel and the Santa Catalina Channel in Southern California, as well as winning the gold medal for swimming around New York’s Manhattan Island.

She also made history by being the first woman to swim across the Beagle Channel, the strait located in the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago shared by Chile and Argentina at the extreme southern end of the South American continent.

EFE ssb/hbr/bp

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