56-year-old Jennifer Figge has become the first woman to swim across the Atlantic Ocean, when she reached the Caribbean last week, completing a goal that she had dreamed about for more than 40 years. She set out on her epic swim on January 12th, from the Cape Verde islands off the western coast of Africa, and proceeded to cover more than 2100 miles in a variety of weather conditions.
Escorted most of the way by a sailboat, Figge encountered a variety of wildlife including whales, turtles, and dolphins, but thankfully no sharks. She would begin her day around 7 AM, loading up on carbs, before dropping into the cold Atlantic waters. Most days she would swim for 8 hours straight, but depending on weather conditions, this would sometimes be shortened. At night she rested on the boat, and work to replenish some of the more than 8000 calories that she would burn on any given day.
Jennifer isn’t quite done with the water just yet. Before heading home to Aspen, Colorado and her beloved Malamute dog, she will now swim from Trinidad to the British Virgin Islands, where she’ll finally get out of the water at the Bitter End Yacht Club sometime in the next few weeks.
This is a pretty amazing display of endurance and athleticism. It takes a lot of energy and strength to be able to swim for eight hours of time in a calm pool, let alone the Atlantic Ocean. I have a lot of admiration for what Jennifer has accomplished, and I congratulate for achieving her dream. I’m exhausted just thinking about it!
Update: It seems that there are some questions and controversy around Jennifer’s Atlantic crossing as highlighted in this article from The Guardian. According to this story, it took Figge just 24 days to swim across the ocean, which would mean that she would have to have swum at least 80 mile per day. Some of the days were supposedly cut short as well, which would make it even harder for her to have crossed the Atlantic in that time frame. So far the team hasn’t responded to these questions about the swim, as they are preparing for the 900 mile leg to Virgin Islands. Guess we’ll have to wait to see what she has to say when she’s all done.
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