New Zealander Kim Chambers has become the first woman to finish a record 30-mile marathon swim from the Farallon Islands to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.
It took her 17 hours and 12 minutes to complete the notoriously cold and difficult crossing. She left late on Friday arriving at the bridge Saturday evening just after 5pm.
“I’m completely overwhelmed,” the 38-year-old Chambers said. “It’s something I’ve wanted for so long.”
Chambers, who did not wear a wetsuit, was followed by two boats carrying her crew and her mother who tossed her food and water.
“It was a really tough swim,” Chambers said. “I was pretty ill in the middle of the night. And I couldn’t keep any food down and so I actually felt my swim was over because I need to feed every 30 minutes and I just couldn’t take anything down.”
Before this, only four men had completed the Farallones to Golden Gate Bridge swim.
Last month, a man attempting to swim the same stretch had to abandon his attempt after encountering a Great White shark.
Chambers, who works for Adobe in communications, began swimming in 2009 to rehabilitate from an accident in which she nearly lost a leg, according to her website.
She was the sixth person, and third woman, to complete the Ocean’s Seven, a collection of long-distance swimming challenges, including the English Channel, Cook Strait, Strait of Gibraltar, and the North Channel.