Hernandez is an experienced open-water swimmer, having set the Guinness world record for the fastest ocean mil through the Drake Passage in southern Chile. (She was named the World Open Water Swimming Association women’s swimmer of the year in 2020.) Monday, she covered 2.5 kilometers in 45 minutes, 50 seconds through Chile Bay, off Greenwich Island in the Antarctic Peninsula. She did the swim in a simple swimsuit (no protective clothing or grease) in 2.2 degree Celsius water.

“I’m so happy and so relieved that it all went well,” Hernandez said in a press release. “Swimming in Antarctica has been a dream I’ve had for years, and part of my longtime ambition to swim in parts of all seven of the world’s oceans. Physically it has been incredibly tough, but all worth it if the message on the need for urgent action to protect these amazing waters reaches decision-makers.”

Hernandez was supported by a Chilean naval ship, which transported her to and from the attempt. She was accompanied by a documentary crew that will release video the attempt in April.

Hernandez’s swim was part of the Antarctica2020 group, which seeks to raise awareness for marine protection in the area. It works closely with the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition in pressuring world leaders and business. Among the proposals the group is backing are three marine protection plans before the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). They would apply for nearly 4 million square miles in the East Antarctic, Weddell Sea and Antarctic Peninsula and will be discussed at a special session of CCAMLR in Santiago, Chile, on June 19-23.

“The courage that Bárbara has shown in undertaking this swim in the name of Antarctic Ocean protection is truly inspirational,” said Claire Christian, Executive Director of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition. “That someone put her life on the line to get greater awareness of the problems in the region, shows the urgency of the issue. We hope that leaders take notice and show political courage at the CCAMLR meeting in June to secure protection of these three large areas.”

According to swimmingworldmagazine.com. Source of photos: internet