Pitara Kids Network

American Woman Athlete, Aged 56, Swims Across Atlantic

Where: Trinidad

February 9, 2009 : Jennifer Figge, a 56-year-old American athlete, swam across the Atlantic Ocean, taking 24 days, spending eight hours in the water each day. Ms Figge claims she is the first woman on record to swim the Atlantic. She left Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa on January 12, tackling waves up to nine metres in height. She had planned to finish at the Bahama Islands. Strong winds forced her to change course and she hit land at Trinidad instead. The original route measured 3,380km, but the distance over the route she eventually took has yet to be measured.

A support boat accompanied Ms Figge, who swam inside a cage to be safe from sharks. “I was never scared,” she told the Associated Press news agency. She saw no sharks, but she did see pilot whales, turtles, and dolphins. Crew members from the boat threw energy drinks to the swimmer, and in stormy weather, divers swam out and gave them to her.

The first known swimmer to make a solo trans-Atlantic crossing was Benoit Lecomte of France, who covered 6,400km in 73 days, ten years ago.